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Apr 3, 2018

There are many advantages associated with culturing cells in three-dimensional (3D) versus conventional two-dimensional (2D) tissue culture.

Scaffold-free 3D culture systems that generate spheroids (and other similar multicellular aggregations) have proved useful as they offer an easy route to access 3D culture and transition into plate-based higher throughput. The emergence of ultra-low attachment (ULA) or cell-repellent plates that generate spheroids has been a major factor in increasing investigation and adoption of 3D culture. The popularity of ULA plates for spheroid generation has shifted the emphasis in spheroid generation to size and shape consistency, defined co-cultures with primary cells and optimising conditions for those ‘difficult to grow’ cells.

Much progress has been made in recent years in the supporting literature, culture tools, detection technologies, reagents and service offerings enabling spheroids to be adopted as the preferred in vitro 3D platform in safety testing, disease modelling and drug discovery applications. Spheroids are also proving invaluable in regenerative medicine/tissue engineering research where they are used as a biological unit or building block to merge into a more complex tissue or organ structures.

The article was written by Dr John Comley, who is Managing Director of HTStec Ltd.

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