The past decades have witnessed significant efforts toward the development of three-dimensional (3D) cell cultures. Today, 3D cell cultures are emerging not only as a new tool in early drug discovery, but also as potential therapeutics to treat disease.
While the use of human cell lines has become a permanent fixture in drug discovery and development, the lingering issue has been in their inconsistent results.
High-content screening (HCS) is a well-established approach for the multiparametric analysis of cellular events. Since its first introduction more than a decade ago, high content imaging systems have continually evolved with many improvements enabled to meet user demands of greater flexibility and the growing requirements of assays involving complex cellular disease models.
Conventional two-dimensional (2D) cell models (adherent cells grown on cell culture plates or cells in suspension) are limited in their abilities to accurately predict clinical toxicity since they lack the fundamental complexity of in vivo tissue environments. As a result efforts are being directed towards more sophisticated multicellular three-dimensional (3D) cell models with improved in vitro to in vivo correlation.
3D cell culture has the potential to deliver higher quality culture information that is more representative of tissue morphology and predictive of drug responses in vivo.