Organoids, organ-mimicking multicellular structures derived from pluripotent stem cells or organ progenitors, have recently emerged as an important system for both studies of stem cell biology and development of potential therapeutics; however, a large-scale culture of organoids and cryopreservation for whole organoids, a prerequisite for their industrial and clinical applications, has remained a challenge. Current organoid culture systems relying on embedding the stem or progenitor cells in bulk extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogels (e.g., Matrigel™) have limited surface area for mass transfer and are not suitable for large-scale productions. Here, we demonstrate a capsule-based, scalable organoid production and cryopreservation platform. The capsules have a core-shell structure where the core consists of Matrigel™ that supports the growth of organoids, and the alginate shell form robust spherical capsules, enabling suspension culture in stirred bioreactors. Compared with conventional, bulk ECM hydrogels, the capsules, which could be produced continuously by a two-fluidic electrostatic co-spraying method, provided better mass transfer through both diffusion and convection. The core-shell structure of the capsules also leads to better cell recovery after cryopreservation of organoids probably through prevention of intracellular ice formation.
Keywords: biomanufacturing; cryopreservation; encapsulation; organoid.