Confocal microscope image showing how growth and adhesion of bone cells differ across a subset of 3D scaffolds made with systematically varying blends of ingredients. Red indicates actin filaments, a cytoskeletal protein and yellow indicates a cell nucleus. (Source: NIST)
A novel, three-dimensional (3D) screening method for analyzing interactions between cells and new biomaterials could cut initial search times by more than half, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Rutgers University report in the new issue of Advanced Materials. The technique, an advance over flat, two-dimensional screening methods, enables rapid assessment of the biocompatibility and other properties of materials designed for repairing damaged tissues and organs.
The team demonstrated how to screen cell–material interactions in a biologically-representative, but systematically-altered, 3D environment. The pivotal step in the experiment was the collaborators’ success in making so-called libraries of miniature porous scaffolds that are bone-like in structure but vary incrementally in chemical composition. Knowing how changes in scaffold ingredients influence cell responses, researchers can devise strategies for developing biomaterials optimized for particular therapies and treatments.
This article was published in Drug Discovery & Development magazine: Vol. 11, No. 5, May, 2008, pp. 18.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery