Experts in next-generation 3D cell culture gathered at the inaugural New Frontiers in 3D Cell Culture-based Screening Technologies Conference, held Thursday, October 13 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Conceived and organized by InSphero AG, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), the Centers for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), and Promega Corporation, the first annual conference brought together thought leaders from major disciplines to discuss application of 3D tissue models to improve in vitro assays used for drug discovery and toxicity testing.
Michael Gottesman, MD, Chief of the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the National Cancer Institute and Deputy Director for Intramural Research, National Institutes of Health, and Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director of CAAT, delivered keynote presentations at the one-day event. Themed sessions featured presentations from some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, regulatory, and academic research groups working with 3D model systems, including Novartis, the Hubrecht Institute, Merck, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Pfizer, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Innsbruck, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Gottesman, whose research interests include mechanisms by which cancers become resistant to chemotherapy, reinforced in his keynote address that traditional monolayer cell culture models used to study tumor chemoresistance have proven to be woefully inadequate. Gottesman noted, “It should come as no surprise that the world of cell culture is not flat. The meeting was an opportunity to learn about some of the new and exciting advances in 3D cell culture and appreciate the importance of this new technology in studying normal and abnormal cell behavior.”
Jens Kelm, PhD, InSphero Chief Technology Officer and New Frontiers Scientific Advisory Board member, said, “The presentations at the conference underscored how 3D cell-based assays are becoming a part of the daily operations in drug discovery and drug safety testing to better classify compounds using more predictive models - the key being robust, uniform, automation-friendly, and easy to use 3D cell models.”
The international New Frontiers in 3D conference will be hosted in 2017 at a European site to be determined, with plans to return to the US in 2018.