Dr Stefan Przyborski, a senior researcher with Durham University and Chief Scientific Officer of ReInnervate, has tested ten different tissue types on the scaffold, including bone, liver, fat and stem cells from bone marrow, and is marketing the product for commercial use.
The scaffold is made of highly porous polystyrene, is about the size of a ten pence piece and resembles a thin white disc. It has a structure resembling that of a sponge and is riddled with tiny holes which scientists are able to populate with cells which are then cultivated under laboratory conditions.
The technology has potential to be used to grow human stem cells for drug development. Their use may reduce the need for the tests on animals that are usually the next step before progressing to clinical trials in humans.
Another current use of the scaffold involves growing skin cells which are being used by the cosmetics industry to test cosmetics.
Dr Przyborski said: Our results suggest that testing drugs on liver cells using our 3D culture system may be more likely to reflect true physiological responses to toxic substances. Because the 3D cells are cultivated under more realistic conditions, it means that they function more like real tissues.
Scientists are therefore able to gain a more accurate idea of how a drug will behave in the human body, knowledge which can contribute to improving the efficiency of drug discovery, reducing drug development costs, and may help reduce the number of animals in research.
There are other ways to growing cells in 3D in the laboratory. However, these approaches are restricted by their variability, complexity, expense and they are not easily adapted to routine use in high throughput screening studies.
Our technology is essentially a well engineere
|Contact: Dr. Stefan Przyborski|