Three-dimensional cell culture systems and their applications in drug discovery and cell-based biosensors

Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2014 May;12(4):207-18. doi: 10.1089/adt.2014.573.


Three-dimensional (3D) cell culture systems have gained increasing interest in drug discovery and tissue engineering due to their evident advantages in providing more physiologically relevant information and more predictive data for in vivo tests. In this review, we discuss the characteristics of 3D cell culture systems in comparison to the two-dimensional (2D) monolayer culture, focusing on cell growth conditions, cell proliferation, population, and gene and protein expression profiles. The innovations and development in 3D culture systems for drug discovery over the past 5 years are also reviewed in the article, emphasizing the cellular response to different classes of anticancer drugs, focusing particularly on similarities and differences between 3D and 2D models across the field. The progression and advancement in the application of 3D cell cultures in cell-based biosensors is another focal point of this review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Cell Culture Techniques*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Humans