In the body, cells exist within a complex 3D microenvironment and continuously interact with other cells and their environments. These interactions form an important part of different bodily processes. 2D cell culture, (e.g. where cells are grown for example on petri dishes) incompletely reconstitute the cellular microenvironment and provide incomplete information on the effects of drugs on cells.
3D cell culture refers to growing cells in a manner that allow cells to interact with each other to more closely mimic their behaviour in vivo. Therefore, they may be used to more accurately model drug interaction with cells during screening or for personalised medicine applications, which could reduce the dependency on animal models, which do not always reconstitute the human condition accurately.
3D cell culture methods consist of multiple steps and it is difficult to control the number and types of cells using current methods. Secondly, current methods cannot be used to grow complex microtissues with multiple cell types and the multi-stage process necessitates substantial liquid handling and manual intervention.
The technology is a unique scaffold based method for 3D cell culture that allows dissociated tissue cells to form complex microtissues directly. This one-step cell culture process can precisely control the mixture of cells to form uniform mini-organs or microtissues in 3D without pre-formation, or multiple transfers and does not require a complex tubing system unlike other devices and systems.
The microtissues can be combined with existing molecular diagnostic technology (such as NGS) or histopathology to facilitate personalised therapies for cancer patients. Furthermore, this platform can be fabricated in a plate format which can be integrated with automated robotic system to increase the throughput and efficiency of discovering new drugs or combination therapy. Importantly, this technology allows for organoids that consist of stromal cells with vascular formation to be grown unlike current methodologies. Broadly, it can be used to grow 3D cell cultures that can be easily manipulated for multiple applications.