October 1, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 17)

3-D Cell Culture System (alvetex®) Offers Easy Access to Next-Generation Cell Culture Techniques

For many years now it has been recognized that growing cells as flat mono-layers, while simple and convenient, presents many challenges for life scientists. Experimental data generated by studying cells unable to naturally interact with other cells can be of questionable value. With recent advances in material science and the unrelenting drive by life scientists to develop models that better mimic the in vivo experience of a cell, many new products have been brought to market that claim to offer 3-D cell culture.

When typical adherent cells are cultured today on standard cell culture plasticware, almost 50% of the cell is in contact with a polystyrene surface and almost 50% is in contact with cell culture media. This is in stark contrast to the in vivo environment where the surface of each cell is in almost total contact with other cells and extracellular matrix proteins. This complex cellular structure and arrangement is obviously vital to normal cellular function and response to external stimuli.

Reinnervate’s alvetex 3-D cell culture scaffold has been specifically designed to solve the problems of standard 2-D cell culture. Alvetex offers cells a support where they can grow and form a 3-D structure that closely mimic their native environment. Growing inside alvetex, cells are seen to display a more native morphology and this improved cell structure has been demonstrated to lead to improved cellular functionality.

The benefits of using Alvetex for 3-D cell culture include:

  • accurately mimics in vivo cellular environment ensuring biologically relevant experimental data,
  • enables cells to maintain their native shape and function,
  • enhanced cell viability, responsiveness to other cells, and to responses external stimuli,
  • works with primary cells as well as cell lines,
  • the inert polystyrene matrix will not degrade over time and is amenable to standard sectioning techniques,
  • flexible alvetex formats are compatible with existing reagents, media, and incubators,
  • suitable for both short- and long-term in vitro cell growth, and
  • very easy to use—start growing cells in 3-D within a few hours.

About the Company

Reinnervate was established in June 2002 to commercialize technology developed by its founding scientist Professor Stefan Przyborski working in the field of cell biology but with a particular interest in stem cell biology and developmental neuroscience.

The first alvetex product, a 12-well plate format, was launched in late 2010. This was quickly followed by well-insert formats for standard multiwell plates and deep-well petri dishes that can support much longer term cell growth. Future product introductions will include alvetex screening products for 96- and 384-well based applications. There are now many peer-reviewed publications demonstrating the utility of alvetex in its current formats.

Reinnervate also sells small molecules such as ec23 which is a fully stable replacement for ATRA, for stem cell differentiation and neurobiology research applications.

Alvetex and ec23 are manufactured and distributed globally from our state-of-the-art development and production facility at NETPark.

Markets Served

Alvetex 3-D cell culture systems have many applications in basic research, drug discovery, and product development in the academic, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical sectors. Wherever scientists need to better understand the growth, function, and disease mechanisms of cells in vivo, alvetex 3-D cell culture products can provide more predictive and biologically relevant models.

The calls for better in vitro models that are more predictive of in vivo cell behavior are strong from all market sectors. However, the drug discovery market is perhaps calling the loudest. If 3-D cell culture can more accurately and rapidly identify compounds and proteins that will fail during in vivo studies or avoid the rejection of useful molecules that appear to be toxic only in traditional cell culture models, the return on investment is mouth-watering!


Reinnervate currently supplies its 3-D cell culture stem and cell differentiation products to labs globally through its network of marketing partners. Alvetex is also being developed for use in specialized devices and kits through alliances with partners in areas such as liver toxicity testing, skin modelling, transfection, cell-based assays, HCS, quasi vivo models as well as many others. Reinnervate welcomes approaches from groups who want to harness the power of 3-D cell culture.


NETPark Incubator

Thomas Wright Way


Co Durham

TS21 3FD United Kingdom

Phone +44 (0)1740 625266

Website www.reinnervate.com

Date Founded 2002

Number of Employees 26

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