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A method used to transform, multiply, and regenerate stem cells in a laboratory setting.

A method of manufacturing stem cell tissue through bioprocessing tools that extract body cells and culture them in a laboratory setting. Due to ethical controversies regarding the extraction of cells from embryos, this technological solution is especially promising because it offers a sustainable alternative to multiply and renew a variety of cell types with a single cell source.

The process of manufacturing stem cells has two distinct stages. The first one is proliferation, which involves producing a number of cells to form larger tissues. The second, called differentiation, is focused on turning stem cells into functioning cells. New substances such as hydrogel are simplifying these processes and enabling scientists to achieve specific results, such as developing heart cells or motor neurons, for instance. They could support the restoration of damaged tissues and organs, or be used in cell-based cellular therapies in the fight against cancer and hematological disorders. These solutions could also help protect organisms from autoimmune and other inflammatory diseases, and genetic disorders.

Besides medical applications, stem cell manufacturing has also been considered a means of cellular agriculture. Cellular agriculture currently has two types of agricultural products; the only one of interest to a stem cell factory is cell-based products containing living or once-living cells. By synthesizing yeast or bacteria, for example, a stem cell factory would produce cellular products, such as plant-based milk, eggs, lab-grown meat, leather, fur, etc. Alternatively, cell-based products could be made by collecting stem cells from animal tissues then multiplying and differentiating them into primitive fibers that will end up forming muscle tissue.

For this technology to be correctly deployed, some barriers involve the price and scalability of the stem cell tissue culture. Designing more cost-effective techniques to substitute current traditional clearooms is not an easy task, even though some solutions are being tested, such as automated vessel types that ensure better tissue culture, and the quality of attributes of the starting cell material.

Future Perspectives
In combination with automation technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and 3D Printing, there is excellent potential for scalability in this industry. Yet, the controversy lies in factors that surpass technological barriers; there is an open ethical debate regarding the use and exploration of stem cells. This drawback could be easily overcome if regulatory practices are put in place, which would determine what kind of stem cells could be multiplied and the ones that cannot be reproduced.

In terms of land use, lab-grown meat could mean a great change in how meat is physically produced today. This production sector may be organized from feedlots and slaughterhouses to factories that would be brought into the cities, where the lab-grown meat would be generated. Besides reducing emissions and the amount of land and water significantly used, the transportation expenses would also be lowered, once meat would not be bought from far way. In short, such a solution could bring more economic autonomy for cities and communities, besides helping to mitigate the long-lasting effects of climate change.

Stem Cell Manufacturing

KEY TRENDS

Additive Manufacturing