Tuneable synthetic reduced graphene oxide scaffolds elicit high levels of three-dimensional glioblastoma interconnectivity in vitro

Christopher J Brown, Thomas Simon, Chiara Cilibrasi, Peter J Lynch, Rhiannon W Harries, Aline Amorim Graf, Matthew J Large, Sean P Ogilvie, Jonathan P Salvage, Alan B Dalton, Georgios Giamas, Alice A K King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three-dimensional tissue scaffolds have utilised nanomaterials to great effect over the last decade. In particular, scaffold design has evolved to consider mechanical structure, morphology, chemistry, electrical properties, and of course biocompatibility - all vital to the performance of the scaffold and how successful they are in developing cell cultures. We have developed an entirely synthetic and tuneable three-dimensional scaffold of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) that shows good biocompatibility, and favourable mechanical properties as well as reasonable electrical conductivity. Importantly, the synthesis is scaleable and suitable for producing scaffolds of any desired geometry and size, and we observe a high level of biocompatibility and cell proliferation for multiple cell lines. In particular, one of the most devastating forms of malignant brain cancer, glioblastoma (GBM), grows especially well on our rGO scaffold , and without the addition of response-specific growth factors. We have observed that our scaffold elicits spontaneous formation of a high degree of intercellular connections across the GBM culture. This phenomenon is not well documented and nothing similar has been observed in synthetic scaffolds without the use of response-specific growth factors - which risk obscuring any potential phenotypic behaviour of the cells. The use of scaffolds like ours, which are not subject to the limitations of existing two-dimensional substrate technologies, provide an excellent system for further investigation into the mechanisms behind the rapid proliferation and success of cancers like GBM. These synthetic scaffolds can advance our understanding of these malignancies in the pursuit of improved theranostics against them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-383
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021


  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • General Medicine


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