"Cells grown in normal laboratory conditions do not react like natural cells in the human body, and therefore they all-too-often give erroneous messages about how a drug works in the human organism. When you are testing the toxicity of a substance - which you always do because of the possible dangers - there is a risk that the trypsin-treated cells report back that they can tolerate the substance, but when one tests the substance on a real person, the effect can actually be fatal, "explains Stephen Fey.
In extreme cases, studies show that both laboratory grown cells and animals tolerate a drug, but human test subjects don't as seen in as in the U.S. fialuridin-tragedy (and several other studies since).
"With our 3D culture method, cells mimic cells in the human body better and thus we get more appropriate results," says Stephen Fey.
"By avoiding trypsinizing cells, they keep their ability to communicate. To avoid using trypsin, cells are grown in small round 3D structures, called spheroids, in a solution, which is constantly being turned. This tricks them into thinking that they are in a tissue surrounded by blood in a natural human body, "explains Stephen Fey.
He refers to cells grown in this way as 3D cell cultures because they live in a three dimensional space as opposed to the traditional methods (which use trypsin) and grow cells on a two-dimensional surface, the bottom of a container.
The researchers from SDU have managed to grow human liver cells, which have a lot more similarities with liver cells in the human body and thus are a lot more valuable than the trypsinized cells, normally used by the pharmaceutical industry.
"Our research shows that we can now predict the dose at which a substance becomes toxic for humans more accurately than before and thu
|Contact: Birgitte Svennevig|
University of Southern Denmark