Navigation Links
3D microgels 'on-demand' offer new potential for cell research
Date:2/26/2014

Stars, diamonds, circles.

Rather than your average bowl of Lucky Charms, these are three-dimensional cell cultures generated by an exciting new digital microfluidics platform, the results of which have been published in Nature Communications this week by researchers at the University of Toronto. The tool, which can be used to study cells in cost-efficient, three-dimensional microgels, may hold the key to personalized medicine applications in the future.

"We already know that the microenvironment can greatly influence cell fate," says Irwin A. Eydelnant, recent doctoral graduate from IBBME and first author of the publication. "The important part of this study is that we've developed a tool that will allow us to investigate the sensitivity of cells to their 3D environment."

"Everyone wants to do three-dimensional (3D) cell culture," explains Aaron Wheeler, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), the Department of Chemistry, and the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (DCCBR) at the University of Toronto. "Cells grown in this manner share much more in common with living systems than the standard two-dimensional (2D) cell culture format," says Wheeler, corresponding author of the study.

More naturalistic, 3D cell cultures are a challenge to grow. "The reagents are expensive, the materials are inconvenient for automation, and 3D matrices break down upon repeated handling," explains Wheeler, who was named an Inventor of the Year by the University of Toronto in 2012.

Eydelnant was able to address these difficulties by adapting a digital microfluidics platform first created in the Wheeler lab. Cells, caught up in a hydrogel material, are gently flowed across a small field that, on a screen, looks much like a tiny chessboard. The cells are strategically manipulated by a small electric field across a cutout shape on the top plate of the system, made from indium in oxide, and become fixed.

"When we grew kidney cells in these microgels, the cultures formed hollow sphere structures resembling primitive kidneys within four or five days," Eydelnant claims.

The tool allows a great deal of flexibility in terms of the number of different kinds of cells that can be incorporated into the shapes, as well as the shapes and size of the microenvironments: whimsical, like the stars, diamond and circles of Lucky Charms, or designed to mimic living 3D niches, offering researchers a glimpse into how these factors all affect cell fate decisions.

What's more, according to Eydelnant, the platform permits researchers to run, "32 experiments at the same time, automatically, and all on something the size of a credit card."

"[This new] system allows for hands-free assembly of sub-microlitre, three-dimensional microgels. Each gel is individually addressable, fluid exchange is gentler than macro-scale alternatives, and reagent use is reduced more than 100-fold," Wheeler says.

"We believe that this new tool will make 3D cell culture a more attractive and accessible format for cell biology research," he adds.

Although the researchers can foresee numerous possible applications for this platform, the team is "particularly excited" about its potential for personalized medicine.

Wheeler argues, "We may be able to collect small tissue samples from patients, distribute them into 3D gels on digital microfluidic devices, and screen for conditions to identify individually tailored therapies. This is in the 'dream' stages for now, but we think the methods described here will be useful for these types of applications in the future."


'/>"/>

Contact: Erin Vollick
comm.ibbme@utoronto.ca
416-946-8019
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Osteoarthritis medicine delivered on-demand
2. Mercy Lab Offers Faster On-demand Diabetes Testing, Cellular Studies
3. New biological scaffold offers promising foundation for engineered tissues
4. Paper offers insights into network that plays crucial role in cell function and disease
5. Genetic function discovered that could offer new avenue to cancer therapies
6. Space flies offer clues about microgravitys impact on astronauts
7. Natural engineering offers solution against future flooding
8. Scripps Florida scientists offer new insight into neuron changes brought about by aging
9. 2014 ASMCUE and ASM General Meeting collaborate to offer the latest in teaching and research
10. Study offers clues to how plants evolved to cope with cold
11. Blind cavefish offer evidence for alternative mechanism of evolutionary change
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/28/2016)... 2016 "The biometric system ... The biometric system market is in the growth ... near future. The biometric system market is expected to ... a CAGR of 16.79% between 2016 and 2022. Government ... technology in smartphones, rising use of biometric technology in ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... According to the new market research report "Biometric System Market ... Multi-Factor), Component (Hardware and Software), Function (Contact and Non-contact), Application, and Region ... to grow from USD 10.74 Billion in 2015 to reach USD 32.73 ... Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:11/21/2016)... Nov. 21, 2016   Neurotechnology , a ... technologies, today announced that the MegaMatcher On Card ... submitted for the NIST Minutiae Interoperability Exchange ... the mandatory steps of the evaluation protocol. ... continuing test of fingerprint templates used to establish ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Capital Corp. ("Zenith" or the "Company") ... presented at the Company,s Annual and Special Meeting. ... take place on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at ... (Room EC1040), 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary, ... of meeting and management information circular, containing the matters to ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , December 8, 2016 The report "Acrylic Processing Aid ... Construction, Packaging, Automotive, Consumer Goods) - Global Forecast to 2026", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... to reach USD 1,173.6 Million by 2026, registering an of CAGR of 6.2% ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Muse bio, a privately-held company leading ... that Dr. Kevin Ness has been appointed ... Directors. Kevin succeeds Muse bio,s founding ... Chief Science Officer as well as remains Slade Professor, ... BioDesign Center at the RAS Energy Institute at the ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Cambrian Innovation ... industrial facilities, today announced that one of the nation’s fastest growing craft breweries, ... water-energy purchase agreement (WEPA). Under the WEPA, a first for the industrial wastewater ...
Breaking Biology Technology: