As regenerative medicine carves out the future of health care, it has become critical to investigate and understand the relationship between cells and their environment. New tissue engineered products cannot be developed in a commercial setting without a solid foundation of how these cells behave in their native tissue.
Cells have been grown and studied in a Petri dish since 1887, mainly due to convenience. New research indicates that everything we have learned in 2-D does not translate in the 3-D. A recent article in John's Hopkins Magazine "Moving cancer research out of the Petri dish and into the third dimension" by Dr. Dale Keiger discusses how new data shows "that much of how cells behaved in a Petri dish was an artifact of the 2-D environment. The cells moved as they did not because that's how motility works in cancer cells but because the cells were in a dish. Put them in a 3-D environment and everything changed." The transition to 3D is occurring in pharmaceutical development as well. Winston Timp, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the Whiting School, says, "It is vastly underestimated how important this is, especially when it comes to motility. A 3-D microenvironment lets us bridge this gap between information we have from 2-D and the animal or human model. The more we can do in an in vitro environment faster and more effectively, the more we'll be able to get to better drugs to help human health, better screening that identifies diseases, and more information for plumbing the unknown in biology."
Manufacturing a tissue engineered product requires instrumentation that is faithful to multiple disciplines. Mechanical engineering, developmental biology, chemical engineering, cell biology, physics, and biomechanics are only a few of the ingredients necessary for successful culture of cells and materials to make a tissue engineered product. The location of this growth is the bioreactor. A bioreactor can be defined as a device that uses mechanical means to influence biological processes. In tissue engineering, bioreactors can be used as an aid in the in vitro development of new tissue by providing biochemical and physical regulatory signals to cells and encouraging them to undergo differentiation and/or to produce extracellular matrix prior to in vivo implantation.
Powerful in versatility and application, the BISS Bioreactor Series of instruments set the standard for 3D cell culture and tissue engineering research. Available for most construct geometries, these instruments mimic the in vivo mechanical environment with user controlled loading conditions. The modular design allows for virtually limitless system configurations, ensuring that the bioreactor systems can meet researcher's needs today and in the future.