There is growing interest in developing drugs that specifically target glioblastoma tumor-initiating cells (TICs). Current cell culture methods, however, cannot cost-effectively produce the large numbers of glioblastoma TICs required for drug discovery and development. In this paper we report a new method that encapsulates patient-derived primary glioblastoma TICs and grows them in 3 dimension thermoreversible hydrogels. Our method allows long-term culture (∼50 days, 10 passages tested, accumulative ∼>10 10 -fold expansion) with both high growth rate (∼20-fold expansion/7 days) and high volumetric yield (∼2.0 × 10 7 cells/ml) without the loss of stemness. The scalable method can be used to produce sufficient, affordable glioblastoma TICs for drug discovery.
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