Tissue engineering company Prellis Biologics launched the first ever line of pre-vascularized 3D tissue scaffolds. The scaffolds are biocompatible and can be used by researchers to grow any cell type in 3D formats 1000x larger than 3D spheroids. For the first time, therapeutics can be tested on accurate, easily replicated, fast to set-up models of tissue architecture.
Typically, researchers use nearly hundred-year-old 2D methods to create cell cultures. These methods are known to be inaccurate, only partially replicating cell behavior. In 2D cell cultures, human cells typically lose the ability to reproduce meaningful toxicology results, leading to frustrated researchers and high drug failure rates in clinical trials.
“Large pharmaceutical companies typically have 200 or more drugs in their development pipelines but only 1 or 2 are approved by the FDA each year,” said Prellis CEO Melanie Matheu, PhD. “This massive failure rate can often be traced back to inaccurate results right at the beginning, from standard tissue culture methods.”
Prellis’ line of pre-vascularized 3D scaffolds has the potential to transform the industry, streamline therapeutic development, and provide more accurate results in academic research and development.
Mary E. Dickinson, Professor at Baylor College of Medicine and internationally recognized expert in bioengineering and vascular biology, confirms that 3D vascular systems are critical for cell culture research: “There are now numerous published studies that show that cells grown within 3D matrices function better than those on 2D matrices, so advanced methods to create the most biomimetic environments are greatly needed.”
Prellis’ Vascular Tissue Blanks are true 3D structures printed with capillaries supporting large tissue growth. Numerous cell types, including neurons, iPSCs (stem cells), HUVECs (vascular endothelial cells), primary human immune cells, and tumor cells have been successfully cultured and co-cultured on Prellis’ scaffolds.
Cells can be seeded on the tissue blanks in about five minutes and cultured under standard conditions. The structures are compatible with live cell imaging and immunohistochemistry, and they can be handled for standard assays such as flow cytometry in the same way as tissue samples.
Research applications for pre-vascularized structures are numerous: tumor immunotherapy, therapeutic and drug development, transplant in animal studies, and in-vitro toxicology studies. Human tumor cell lines grown on the structures for just one week demonstrate metastasis growth patterns and self-organization, providing access to a new model for studying human tumor cell growth and metastatic behavior.
“It was important for our team to build a product that works well in the hands of researchers without interrupting or adding to their work flow,” said Elizabeth Reynolds, Prellis Biologics COO. “We have seen the potential these products have to transform research in our own lab, and we want to share these powerful tools for drug development and discovery with other researchers.”
Using the scaffolds now offered to researchers, Prellis’ cell biologists were able to differentiate astrocytes (a type of neural cell) in a matter of days, see robust blood-vessel formation (HUVEC tube formation) in under a week, and grow large-format tumors at 2mm x 1mm for three weeks.
“We use these scaffolds routinely in our own R&D and have had stunning results in 3D tissue growth,” said Matheu. “Pre-vascularized tissue scaffolds will move tumor immunotherapy, stem cell, and regenerative medicine research forward at light speed. If we can lower the cost and increase the value coming out of pharmaceutical R&D programs, while providing researchers with powerful development tools, we will have made a significant impact in health and medicine.”