Feng Shui Basics for 3D Cell Culture Tissue Engineering and Advanced Robotic Systems Come Together To Improve Success Rates in Phenotypic Drug Discovery
by Lisa Heiden
Simply put, “cells in 3D more closely mimic the phenotype of real tissues and organs than those in 2D,” informs Jeffrey Morgan, Ph.D., a professor of medical science and engineering at Brown University and founder of Microtissues.
Built upon knowledge gleaned over several decades, “what we are seeing now—the big picture—is the emergence of a variety of novel 3D cell culture technologies,” he declares.
Anticipation is also in the air at Emulate. “We are undergoing a major evolution from 3D cell culture to organs-on-chips,” exclaims the company’s president and CSO, Geraldine Hamilton, Ph.D. The Emulate evolution is incorporating a host of microfluidic approaches and microfabrication technologies.
Yet another change-is-coming statement comes from Mamunur Rahman, Ph.D., principle investigator and laboratory director, Scivax Life Sciences, a subsidiary of JSR based in Japan. “Just two years ago, we compared 3D versus 2D,” recalls Dr. Rahman. “Now we compare 3D versus 3D. People understand that 3D is more important than 2D.”
Drs. Morgan, Hamilton, and Rahman were among the presenters at CHI’s 3D Cellular Models conference recently held in Boston. The conference showcased microengineered biomimetic systems, outstanding examples of which are discussed in this article. Multiple presenters emphasized that these systems could be used in pharmaceutical applications.
“The pharmaceutical industry is very interested,” Dr. Morgan elaborates. “It wants better models to replace animals in research and to provide more predictive information on toxicity as well as efficacy. So, it is shifting away from screens of 2D cells and starting to do 3D screens for phenotypic drug discovery.”
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