In vitro 3D cell culture models have emerged as a bridge between conventional 2D cell culture models and the complex and expensive in vivo animal models. By observing, analyzing and comparing the biological behavior of tissues embedded in 3 dimensional hydrogels, results are significantly different from the classic 2D cell culture in terms of proliferation, morphology, drug response, and gene expression. These differences have been attributed to the topographically complex 3D environment surrounding the cells, where cell adhesion, structure, effector transport, and mechanotransduction are substantially altered. A carefully designed 3D model can therefore provide more physiologically relevant information using experimental designs unachievable by conventional 2D assays, at a fraction of the cost of in vivo models. Current 3D cell culture assays like hanging drop culture often lack the capability to organize different co-cultured cell types in a meaningful way. The application of chemical gradients or flow is usually not possible.
We are now able to address this issue with a modular microfluidic platform that can co-culture multiple cell types in discrete 3D and 2D channels. Organotypic assays with animal model-like complexities using human cells have been developed for research, drug discovery & diagnostics. These include models for immune checkpoint, T-cell killing efficiency, angiogenesis, metastasis, cell migration, microvascular networks, and the blood-brain barrier. Additional applications that focus on a liver model will also be discussed. Drug Induced Liver Injuries (DILI) contribute to drug failures, drug withdrawals, and acute liver failures. The liver is known to strongly interact with other organ systems and in some instances, the metabolites secreted by the liver are responsible for other organs' injury. Engineered 3D liver models may increase the physiological relevance of drug toxicity by maintaining the expression levels of key cytochrome P450 enzymes and metabolic activity in liver cells.
Scientists and researchers in 3D organ-on-a-chip and disease modelling fields
Kuan Chee Mun
Chee Mun was previously responsible for Advanced Technology Development at Becton Dickinson & Co. (Asia-Pacific). He focused on identifying new business opportunities and developing product concepts & technologies to address unmet needs of customers from China, India and other Asia Pacific economies. Prior to this appointment, Chee Mun was the General Manager for the first international subsidiary of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, based in Singapore. Chee Mun holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a B.Sc. (Honours) in Cell & Molecular Biology from the National University of Singapore.
Mahama Aziz Traore, Ph.D.
Sr. R&D Scientist
Aziz received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, where he studied the transport of bacteria-based drug delivery vehicles. He completed a postdoctoral appointment at Washington University in St. Louis investigating engineered 3D microphysiological systems for disease modeling and vascular development. Aziz joined us in 2017 and is currently involved in projects that focus on the development of cell-based products within the field of drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics, and toxicology (ADME/Tox).
Cell culture and analysis
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