Synthetic 3D multicellular systems for drug development

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2012 Oct;23(5):803-9. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2012.01.011. Epub 2012 Feb 10.


Since the 1970s, the limitations of two dimensional (2D) cell culture and the relevance of appropriate three dimensional (3D) cell systems have become increasingly evident. Extensive effort has thus been made to move cells from a flat world to a 3D environment. While 3D cell culture technologies are meanwhile widely used in academia, 2D culture technologies are still entrenched in the (pharmaceutical) industry for most kind of cell-based efficacy and toxicology tests. However, 3D cell culture technologies will certainly become more applicable if biological relevance, reproducibility and high throughput can be assured at acceptable costs. Most recent innovations and developments clearly indicate that the transition from 2D to 3D cell culture for industrial purposes, for example, drug development is simply a question of time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Automation
  • Biotechnology / instrumentation
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Humans
  • Quality Control