General 3D culture Services

Culturing mammalian cells as a confluent monolayer (2D culture) is a common practice in pre-clinical research and drug validation, but don't often model the biological functions of tissues.  Culturing cells in 3 dimensions (3D) offer a more physiologically relevant approach to assessing drug efficacy, specificity and toxicity.  They can offer new insight into your drug target, molecule or signaling pathway of interest. We can perform different types of 3D assays including: 3D cultures in extracellular matrix, soft agar and stem cell assays.  We also offer more specialized assays including endothelial branching assays. See below for sample images and publications involvign these assays.

3D cultures in extracellular matrix

Breast cancer 3D cultures

 4T1 mammary carcinoma cells (red) were cultured in Matrigel for 6 days. Images captured with inverted fluoresence microscope with brightfield overlay.

Breast cancer 3D co-culture with fibroblasts

 4T1 mammary carcinoma cells (ed) co-cultured with fibroblasts (red) in Matrigel for 6 days. mages captured with inverted fluoresence microscope with brightfield overlay.

This assay measures the ability of cells to growth, survive and invade in extracellular matrix in the presence or absence of stromal cells.  Cancer cells grown in Matrigel tend to form abnormal spheroids that eventually invade into surrounding matrix.

Breast cancer 3D co-culture with fibroblasts and macrophages

4T1 mammary carcinoma cells (red) co-cultured with macrophages (blue) and fibroblasts (green) in Matrigel. Images captured using confocal microscopy.  Right panel shows corresponding phase contrast image.

Soft agar assay

 Cancer cells but not benign or normal cells grow well in soft agar.  The number of colonies are counted to indicate ability of cells to be transformed.

 4T1 mammary carcinoma cells grown in soft agar for 10 days.

Stem cell assay

This assays the ability of cells to self renew in vitro. Cells grown in low attachment plates form spheroids in suspension, and exhibit self renewal potential by regrowing with each passage.

 DCIS.com breast carcinoma cells grown in low attachment plates for 6 days.

Endothelial branching assay

This assays the ability of endothelial cells to form vessel like branches on Matrigel. Branches or branch points are typically counted as an indicator of endothelial cell activity.

 Lung microvascular endothelial cells grown in Matrigel for 24 hours.

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