"Dancing, graceful, fascinating, strange, delicious, painful, deadly, jellyfish are all of these things. For fishermen, they are a potential nuisance; for swimmers, the fear of a painful, sometimes dangerous sting". (1). Yet jellyfish collagen is poised to revolutionize in vitro cell culture and regenerative medicine, thanks to the latest research by a startup specializing in marine biotechnology.
One of the earliest life forms on the planet, jellyfish have been drifting underwater for at least 500 million years. These gelatinous beauties continue to fascinate with their impressive adaptability..." says Lisa-Ann Gershwin, director of the Australian Jellyfish Alert Service. Working on the evolution of gelatinous organisms and their proliferation, she has discovered more than 200 new species.
This is a real windfall for the biotechnology industry, which uses living organisms or parts thereof to convert their gelatinous material to develop innovations in the fields of cell culture and regenerative medicine. A young British company based in Cardiff, specialising in marine biotechnology, launches this week JellaGel, the first purified jellyfish collagen hydrogel designed for 3D cell culture and tissue engineering.
Because collagen is considered to present very low allergic risks, it has many biomedical and paramedical uses. In particular, it is found in certain absorbable haemostatic sponges. (2), but also in the world of cosmetics. The unique physiology of jellyfish means that their collagen has significant advantages over synthetic materials and mammalian-derived collagen.
The launch of this new jellyfish collagen hydrogel provides a new solution to the various challenges faced by laboratory technicians. Jellyfish collagen constitutes the chemical matrix? the historical upstream of all collagens? and this is one of the main reasons why JellaGel is a versatile hydrogel: it has developed a unique manufacturing process, JellatechThis allows laboratory technicians to take full advantage of the simple physiology of jellyfish, which ensures consistency between different industrial batches, resulting in better reproducibility of results from one test to another.
Unlike mammalian-derived collagen, JellaGel does not contain contaminants such as proteins, polysaccharides or especially disease vectors. It also contains a significantly lower number of non-specific miRNAs than in mammalian-derived collagen, which reduces adverse effects. In contrast to synthetic materials, many of which are based on fibrous materials with the structure β, jellyfish collagen is bioabsorbable and non-toxic to cells from strain to lineage.
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Professor Andrew Mearns Spragg, Scottish marine biotechnology pioneer, Scientific Director and founder of Jellagen explains on the occasion of the launch of JellaGel : "The collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory team has provided us with information... crucial in developing this new generation of products. One of the challenges of the commercialization of these materials consists in establishing reproducible interdependencies between their physico-chemical and biological properties. This joint work has enabled us to better understand how to solve this difficulty. JellaGel is expected to significantly improve the development and use of 3D cell cultures from the research laboratory to clinical development. ".
For Thomas-Paul Descamps, Managing Director of Jellagen, this is a ". important innovation for laboratories, thanks to the extraordinary properties of jellyfish collagen. The launch of JellaGel with our French partner Clinisciences is a major step in the life of our laboratory. The development of this product demonstrates today our know-how in a very complex area. At a time when Brexit? is so difficult for us Europeans to understand, it is reassuring to see a British startup, half-financed by French investors and partly governed by French nationals, breaking free of borders and relying on the very rich scientific potential of our two countries. ".
(1) About gelatinous organisms P. 6 of the book "Jellyfish" by Lisa-Ann Gershwin - Editions Ulmer, 2017
(2) type of synthetic sponges composed of materials of biological origin (biomaterials), sterile, resorbable by the organism.
Header image : Photo René Degiovani, 2016 (Creative Commons)