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.
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