The ability to simulate the 3D structure of a human body is essential to increase the efficiency of drug development. In vivo conditions are significantly different in comparison to in vitro conditions. A standardly used cell monolayer on tissue culture plastic (2D cell culture) is not sufficient to simulate the transfer phenomena occurring in living organisms, therefore, cell growth in a 3D space is desired. Drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity could be tested on 3D cell aggregates called spheroids, decrease the use of animal models and accelerate the drug development. In this work, the formation of spheroids from HT-29 human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells was successfully achieved by means of the so-called liquid marbles, which are liquid droplets encapsulated by a hydrophobic powder. During the cultivation in the medium inside the liquid marbles, cells spontaneously formed spherical agglomerates (spheroids) without the need of any supporting scaffold. The study focused on the influence of different parameters—namely liquid marble volume, seeding cell density and time of cultivation—on the final yield and quality of spheroids. This work has shown that using liquid marbles as microbioreactors is a suitable method for the cultivation of HT-29 cells in the form of spheroids.

Field: Cancer Research

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