OCT 18, 2016 1:00 PM PDT

The Role of 3D Culture Methods in Retaining Native Biological Properties of Translational In Vitro Models


Cell Sciences Innovation, Merck Research Laboratories, 2015 Galloping Hill Road, Kenilworth, NJ USA
In vitro translational models play a critical role in the drug discovery process because they are often used to select potential new pharmaceutical entities and predict in vivo dosing.  Most, if not all, of those who take part in basic research and pharmacology have focused efforts on decreasing the attrition rate of clinical candidates by creating more biologically relevant systems.

These new platforms are instrumental in simulating a biological micro-environment and are typically comprised of primary or stem cell-derived tissue.  Current data suggests that three dimensional culture methods enable retention of native in vivo properties such as gene expression and biological function where more facile two dimensional tissue culture methods may have detrimental effects such as altered gene expression and decreased physiological activity. 

This represents a change in the paradigm where target-based genetically engineered recombinant cell lines cultured in monolayers in plastic vessels were the foundation of screening and profiling biological and chemical matter.  The move to more advanced tissue-based physiologically active models ushers in an era of complexity, but arrives with the promise that researchers will gain a more accurate understanding of clinical efficacy and toxicity much earlier in the process.  If successful, drug discovery will become more efficient and cost-effective for the industry, while leading to improved pharmaceutical treatments for disease.

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