3D Cell Culture: How Will it Be Favorable to Cancer Patients in the Future?
Cancer is one of the most prominent illnesses that living beings including animals suffer from and is yet to have a fool-proof cure. These efforts to find a legitimate cure is being initiated using 3D cell culture.
The cell is one of the smallest living structures found in every living being in the world. It holds a lot of importance and also has several functions to it. Since the field of research developed over time, humans have discovered how the structure or functions of a cell can be replicated which has assisted in several medical marvels. The process of research uses a technique known as 3D cell culture where cells are extracted to from either plants or animals to be tested upon in a favorable surrounding. This is done normally using a mechanical or enzymatic process before being sent for experimentation. 3D cell cultures are highly efficient in representing any effects of disease or even to help experts study the structure better.
Variants of Scaffolding
Just like the construction of a home needs scaffolding to support the entire structure, the cells also need scaffolding to help balance them on the petri-dish. This support also gives them the space to move and grow in every direction. Some of the most prominent forms of scaffolding are –
- Hydrogels – This form of scaffolding contains a widespread chain of polymer that allow absorption and retention of water. Hydrogels can be extracted for various sources. Alginate is one among them that is extracted from plants, while Collagen can be derived from animals. It can also be formed using chemicals such as the QGel Matrix.
- Inert Matrices– The membrane of these scaffolding resembles that of a sponge, and it contains polystyrene. This structure allows the cells to grow into the pores that the scaffolding contains.
Some cells are placed into clusters where they continue to grow devoid of any scaffolding. Some of these techniques include –
- Micro patterned Services – Microwell like structures are made on a plastic surface where the cells continue to multiply and grow.
- Low-adhesion plates – Here a material called hydrophilic polymer is poured onto the plastic plates which helps the cells stay afloat. This also helps the cells to create an extracellular matrix (ECM).
Initiating Medical Breakthroughs Using 3D Cells for Drug Testing
The discovery of drugs was possible via multiple trial and errors which also used animal models to the process. The use of advanced technology helped develop the pharmaceutical sector further and this was mainly due to the extensive availability of drug molecules. But, this ease in availability came at a price similar to the cost of the drug screening process relied on the quantity of drug molecules. Also, upon testing the drugs on animals, the same didn’t show much success when it came to human application. But, the implementation of 3D cell culture shifted the way drug responses worked. One of primary uses of cell culture has been to find a remedy for the different forms of cancerous tumors. The cells are made to recreate the microenvironment within a tumor that can help researchers target any irregularities and treat them. Some of the cell models that mimic the real structures are as given below.
- Organoids – These variants of cell cultures are formed from stem cells that are derived from tissues and have the ability to form an organoid structure. Tumor tissue that is extracted primarily from the patient helps in mimicking the tumor organoids which portray behavior of the original tumor. The testing process uses a 3D matrix which also portrays characteristics of the extracellular elements. These organoids have not only been developed using healthy tissue but have also been made using cancer biopsy samples as well.
- Spheroids–These cell structures resemble that of a real tumor and this is made possible by using a technique known as physical confinement. In this method, the interaction between cells increases and this produces a space full of oxygen that in turn develops into a quiescent or dormant zone. Tumors mostly are masses that have no activity within them, and the cells within them only keep multiplying which increases the size of the tumor. By using spheroids, one can determine the extent of efficacy of any anti-cancer drugs.
These developments in healthcare and technology have been working towards building effective treatments for cancer that can further help save lives. 3D cell culture is known to be one of the most cost effective options for drug screening. By using 3D cell culture method, researchers are able to accurately yet speedily pinpoint the cause of tumor in an individual, which helps them save time post-diagnosis. Also, producing cell cultures has proved beneficial in the implementation of other treatment methods such as organs-on-chips. The search to find a thorough cure for cancer still continues and the days of eliminating cancer aren’t far behind.
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