3D Cell Culture

Ever since Dr. Ross Harrison, an Anatomy Professor, developed hanging drop technique to growing three-dimensional frog embryonic nerve fragments via a coverslip in the 1907, life science researchers have depended on primarily adherent, two-dimensional cell culture techniques where cells of interest are cultured in plastic or glassware for study of human cells, tissues, and disease models. As these techniques advanced 3D models were developed. In contrast to 2D environment, cells grown in 3D display higher degree of intercellular interactions, assume more physiologically relevant morphologies and preserve higher-order tissue processes. Tools, technologies, and protocols are making in-vitro 3D analysis simple, cheap, reproducible and scalable-enough for adaptation in drug development. As these tools have become more accessible and validated, researchers in both academia and biopharma are shifting their attention from 2D to 3D cell culture. As estimated by IQ4I Research, the 3D cell culture global market is expected to grow at a low double-digit CAGR to reach $1,485.1 million by 2024.

A large number of investments in the 3D realm coupled with other factors such as need for organ transplantation are driving the growth of this market. 3D cell culture is also being developed as a tool against animal testing. New technologies such as use of microfluidic technology are increasingly drawing attention for the use of 3D cell culture in the biopharmaceutical testing domain. However, there is a gap in the market due to the lack of experienced and skilled medical professionals as well as the lack of consistency in 3D cell culture products. Such factors are forcing small and medium-sized companies to restrict there budget towards 3D cell culture activities. Stringent regulatory process controls and ethical concern over animal source usage are other factors that pose as a threat to the market. The entry of new players with novel technologies and introduction of technology driven products are creating an opportunity in the global 3D cell culture market.

The recent progress in microfluidic technology, scaffolds, spheroids and gels-based systems is making lot of difference in the market as they provide micro-scale complex structures and well-controlled parameters to mimic the in vivo environment of cells and thereby gives an opportunity for scientists to explore new applications such as tissue engineering, stem cell, drug discovery and regenerative medicine. The rapid advancements in the field of cell culture such as 3D bioprinting, organ-on-chip, and single use bioreactors is advancing day-by-day and has been accepted as the future direction of 3D cell culture market. Recent increased usage of ultra low attachment micro-plates is triggering increased applications, as researchers are focusing on single spheroid and microtissue production for downstream assay compatibility driving demand for ultra-low attachment microplates.


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