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September 15, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 16)

Supporting Cells with Scaffold Technology

Polystyrene Platform Designed to Facilitate Routine 3-D Cell Culture

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    Figure 2. The use of a scaffold to create an environment for 3-D cell culture, is not simply the placement of a piece of material in a vessel. Consideration must be given to the presentation of the material, its shape and form, and its subsequent use. Alvetex has been carefully designed to enable optimal use and flexibility. In this simple example, the scaffold is presented either at the base of a well of a multiwell plate (A) or in a custom well insert (B). These alternative presentations support 3-D culture in alvetex through exposure to medium from above only (A, arrows) or from above and below (B, arrows). This concept has been developed into different product formats, created to maximize the ability of cells to grow, differentiate, and function in 3-D. Examples shown include the 12-well multiwell plate (C) and the 6-well insert (D), both of which contain a 200 µm thick membrane of alvetex scaffold.

    Alvetex satisfies all these criteria and is available in the base of multiwell plates and a custom well insert (Figure 2). Like plasticware for conventional 2-D culture, alvetex comes sterilized, prepacked, and ready to use. It is a cost-effective solution for routine 3-D cell culture, which is readily transferred between laboratories and its use does not require the purchase of any specialized equipment.

    There are significant differences between how 2-D and 3-D cell culture is practiced and such differences often follow common logic. For example, in 3-D culture there tend to be many more cells per unit volume of medium compared to the equivalent 2-D system. Therefore, the frequency of media changes needs to be increased. However, this might not be the preferred or most convenient option.

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