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Trends in 3D cellular models for efficacy and toxicology applications

The interest in 3D cellular models is growing rapidly. The graph below illustrates a simple search on Pubmed for the terms ‘3D cell models’. It is clear from this data that the scientific community is seeing value in this technique.

Preclinical 3D microtissuesCells within a 3D model behave differently to those within a 2D culture, and the characteristics are more representative of tissue and organs in the body. Due to the cells being cultured in an environment closer to their natural state, the microtissues or spheroids are viable over extended time periods, and therefore allow for long term repeat dosing regimens.

3D models have become popular in the field of oncology where tumour models are utilised for efficacy testing and more detailed mechanism of action evaluations. These models have also shown promise in the field of toxicology testing with improved accuracy over standard 2D approaches. Perhaps the greatest advances have been made in the field of cardiotoxicity where the technology is combined with ESC (embryonic stem cell) or iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cell) derived cardiomyocytes. These tissues beat in a similar manner to a human heart and can be growth in tri-culture models to mimic the structural components of the cardiac tissue.

In the slide presentation below, Dr Stephanie Ravenscroft, Senior Research Scientist at Cyprotex, discusses Cyprotex’s research in the field of in vitro 3D cellular models with a focus on structural cardiotoxicity and hypertrophy.

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