3D cell cultivation platform permits the study of idiopathic pulmonary fibrisis

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a deadly and rapidly advancing disease that has no cure.

The disease is caused by the abnormal interactions between lung cells (including fibroblasts) and their environment. Standard 2D cell culture models are not in a position to predict the response to potential therapies due to this.

The incidence of IPF will increase with the COVID-19 pandemic and rising air pollution levels and is urgently increasing the need to have strong models.

In APL Bioengineering, from AIP Publishing researchers from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, describe the 3D cell culturing platform that allows study of lung fibroblasts as well as their microenvironment. The platform allows for the measurement of cell behaviors and microenvironment changes that are involved in the progression of IPF and its size and ease of use make it suitable for use in high-throughput drug screening procedures.

IPF is a horrible illness that has a profound impact on a patient’s life and eventually causes them to die due to lack of oxygen. It is crucial to have lab equipment and models that can create and control the microenvironment the cell’s environment, because this may be key to preclinical identification of possible treatments.”

Katherine Cummins, coauthor

Unlike rodent IPF models that don’t replicate progressive disease and other cell culture systems that are not able to replicate the microenvironment that surrounds them, their microtissue platform allows the study of fibroblasts in an extracellular matrix (ECM). IPF is renowned for its ability to alter the ECM, which allows for more functional outputs that are relevant. Furthermore its simplicity and flexibility make it easy to use.

“Many organoid and lab-on-a-chip platforms can be difficult to use,” said co-author David Wood. “What’s remarkable is that this one is very simple to use. It has been distributed to two other labs, who are using it independently of us.”

The system’s function was confirmed primarily by ECM remodeling (cell-driven changes in the microenvironment) and cell contractility. This is the result of activated, diseased Fibroblasts.

Multiple tests on each function proved that the system accurately measures the key elements of fibrosis. The results were replicated using cells donated by patients, indicating the system could be used for personalized medicine.

Moreover, the system’s versatility allows it to be used with different cell types and other matrix components, so it could be adapted for use in the study of other diseases where cell-microenvironment interactions contribute to disease. The system has been used by the research team to study liver toxicities. However, the researchers anticipate that it can be used in other organ systems that are solid for research, like the study of metastasis or cancer progression.

Journal reference:

Wood, D.K., and al. (2021). A 3D tissue culture pipeline that can be scaled up to allow functional therapeutic screening for pulmonary fibrisis. APL Bioengineering.

Content Source:

Gemma Wilson

Gemma is a journalism graduate with keen interest in covering business news – specifically startups. She has as a keen eye for technologies and has predicted quite a few successful startups over the last couple of years.

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