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Alvetex in Space

While the first British ESA astronaut Tim Peake is currently on the International Space Station (ISS) and is about to make his first spacewalk, now is a good time to mention again that Reinnervate’s flagship product, Alvetex® Scaffold, has been used as part of a BBSRC-funded project on the ISS in recent months.

The bone loss in space project was delivered to the ISS by the SpaceX Dragon capsule in April 2015 and returned to earth a month later.

Watch the BBSRC video about Alvetex Scaffold in space:


A team from Massachusetts General Hospital, headed by Dr Paola Divieti-Pajevic, incorporated Alvetex Scaffold in their experiments 150 miles above the surface of the Earth. Astronauts activated the experiment on the ISS, in which three bioreactors grew bone cells in Alvetex Scaffold.

Chosen for the mission ahead of 15 competing cell growth systems, Alvetex Scaffold is “world-class bioscience” from Professor Stefan Przyborski, Chief Scientific Officer of Reinnervate Ltd., and his colleagues at Durham University, who used BBSRC funding to develop the concept.

The study will tell us about the normal cellular aging process and the development of bone-thinning diseases like osteoporosis and whether microgravity can be replicated on Earth.

Read the BBSRC document on Alvatex Scaffold (PDF).

Read Reinnervate’s Application Note: Application of Alvetex Scaffold for 3D Culture of Osteocytes to Investigate Regulation of Bone in Normal and Simulated Microgravity Environments (PDF).

About Reinnervate Ltd

Reinnervate, a REPROCELL group company, is an innovative life sciences company dedicated to making routine 3D cell culture a reality for researchers in academia and in the pharmaceutical and related industries.

Reinnervate develops, manufactures, and sells products for 3D cell culture for applications such as cancer research, drug discovery, HTS, stem cell biology, and many others.

Reinnervate was founded in 2002 based on the pioneering research of Professor Stefan Przyborski and his lab at Durham University funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in the UK.


REPROCELL Incorporated was established as a venture company originating from the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University and has been the pioneer in the iPS cell business, succeeding in the commercialization of the world’s first human iPS human cell products in 2009 and with the world’s most advanced research and technology. In addition, through the recent acquisitions of Reinnervate (UK), BioServe (US), Stemgent (US), and Biopta (UK), the REPROCELL Group is proceeding towards the establishment of a global distribution network, technology synergy, and new product introductions.

About Alvetex® Scaffold

Alvetex Scaffold is a unique polystyrene material that provides a robust and inert scaffold for cells to grow and form complex 3D structures in vitro, mimicking the normal growth and formation of tissues in the body. Reinnervate has extensively tested and validated Alvetex Scaffold with a large number of cell types, including liver, skin, osteocytes, cancer, and stem cells, all of which have important applications in basic research into cell development, disease modeling, and drug safety screening.

Alvetex Scaffold has been launched globally in several formats: 12-well, 24-well, 96 well and 384 well plates, 6-well, and 12-well cell culture inserts. These formats enable scientists to construct different 3D cell culture models and assays. These include the screening of novel drugs/drug combinations on 3D culture and co-culture models, co-culture to study cell-cell or cell-matrix interactions, the growth of cells at the air-liquid interface, and the long-term culture of cells. Visit for a full list of applications.

Note: Reinnervate Ltd (County Durham, England) was acquired by REPROCELL Inc (Yokohama, Japan) in August 2014. Biopta Ltd (Glasgow, Scotland) was acquired by REPROCELL in November 2015. REPROCELL Europe Ltd was established by merging Reinnervate and Biopta in June 2016. 

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