Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of


Scalable Culturing of Primary Human Glioblastoma Tumor- Initiating Cells with a Cell-Friendly Culture System

Qiang Li, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Haishuang Li, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Jack Rauch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Loic P. Deleyrolle, University of Florida
Brent A. Reynolds, University of Florida
Hendrik J. Viljoen, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Chi Zhang, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Linxia Gu, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Erika Van Wyk, CellGro Technologies, LLC
Yuguo Lei, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

© The Author(s) 2018

Open access



Glioblastoma is the most aggressive and deadly brain cancer. There is growing interest to develop drugs that specifically target to glioblastoma tumor-initiating cells (TICs). However, the cost-effective production of large numbers of high quality glioblastoma TICs for drug discovery with current cell culturing technologies remains very challenging. Here, we report a new method that cultures glioblastoma TICs in microscale alginate hydrogel tubes (or AlgTubes). The AlgTubes allowed long-term culturing (~50 days, 10 passages) of glioblastoma TICs with high growth rate (~700-fold expansion/14 days), high cell viability and high volumetric yield (~3.0 × 108 cells/mL) without losing the stem cell properties, all offered large advancements over current culturing methods. This method can be applied for the scalable production of glioblastoma TICs at affordable cost for drug discovery.