Clinical use of pancreatic beta islets for regenerative medicine applications requires mass production of functional cells. Current technologies are insufficient for large-scale production in a cost-efficient manner. Here, we evaluate advantages of a porous cellulose scaffold and demonstrate scale-up to a wicking-matrix bioreactor as a platform for culture of human endocrine cells. Scaffold modifications were evaluated in a multi-well platform to find the optimum surface condition for pancreatic cell expansion followed by bioreactor culture to confirm suitability. Preceding scale-up, cell morphology, viability and proliferation of primary pancreatic cells were evaluated. Two optimal surface modifications were chosen and evaluated further for insulin secretion, cell morphology and viable cell density for human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived pancreatic cells at different stages of differentiation. Scale-up was accomplished with uncoated, amine-modified cellulose in a miniature bioreactor, and insulin secretion and cell metabolic profiles were determined for 13 days. We achieved 10-fold cell expansion in the bioreactor along with a significant increase in insulin secretion compared with cultures on tissue-culture plastic. Our findings define a new method for expansion of pancreatic cells on wicking-matrix cellulose platform to advance cell therapy biomanufacturing for diabetes.