What are the benefits of 3D cell culture?
The development of lifelike 3D bone environments represents a good example of how 3D printing technology is revolutionizing the future of medicine, yielding advances in biotechnology and drug development. Especially, with the capacity to overcome the shortcomings and drawbacks of conventional 2D cellular models and animal models, 3D cell culture systems show huge potential in regenerative medicine and disease modeling.
Until now, drug screening has primarily been performed via 2D cell lines or in animal experiments, typically performed in mice. In vivo animal testing is currently required to document the safety and efficacy of a treatment in a living organism. However, animal models are time-, labor-, and resource intensive and are not always a reliable way to predict how drug treatments will affect humans. Meanwhile, the traditional two-dimensional cell culture models, widely used for in vitro research, do not accurately mimic the cellular environments of human tissues or physiology. Namely, because the cells in our body do not grow flat in a monolayer with bulk concentrations of nutrients, cytokines and cell signaling substances.
3D cell culture systems, on the other hand, are better and more reliable research models as they maintain the cell-to-cell interaction as well as the cell-to-matrix interaction.
Accordingly, one disruptive driver of switching to 3D techniques from conventional methods is the possible reduction in researchers’ reliance on in vivo animal models to obtain relevant data. Reducing the use of in vivo animal testing, owing to the relevant and predictive data from 3D cellular models, may consequently reduce the costs and time needed to get new human therapeutics into the clinic.
3D cell cultures can be grown on scaffolds that offer an environment which allows cells to follow their own genetic instructions to self-organize and form 3D structures like they would inside the body.
Such an optimal environment for natural cell development and migration is offered by 3D cell growth support structures, or solid support matrices. These structures allow researchers to 3D culture tiny versions of different human tissues, using human cells, which can then be used to simulate in vivo mechanisms and therapeutic responses.