Translational Insights for Reproducible Advanced Cell Systems

Streamlining and Simplifying Advanced Cell Systems for Biomedical Research

Cells are the building blocks of all organisms. Understanding the biology of cells and their interactions at the molecular level is the foundation of biomedical and life science research. Utilizing cells as models is an established approach for drug discovery, whereas their use as therapeutics is a rapidly growing approach. 

More than 90% of therapeutic candidates fail to make it past phase III clinical trials, mainly due to their lack of efficacy. The use of 3D and stem cell-based models better recapitulate the pathobiology of diseases and offer in-depth predictive insights that can translate into positive clinical outcomes.

In recognition of this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act 2.0 allows scientists to now use cell-based models as alternatives to animal testing for drug applications.

Advanced cell models - such as organoids, spheroids and 2D stem cell-based models - are revolutionizing biomedical research and drug discovery. However, they come with several challenges:

  • Reproducibility: Different labs may use different protocols, leading to variations in cell models. This can affect the reproducibility of the experiments and the validity of the results.
  • Standardization: A lack of standardization in the methods used to create and maintain cell models can lead to inconsistencies in the quality and characteristics of models.
  • Complexity: Advanced cell models are complex, making them more difficult to work with and interpret results.
  • Cost: Advanced cell models are expensive to create and maintain, limiting their use in some research settings.
  • Lack of vascularization: Without vascularity, models have limited ability to accurately mimic the in vivo environment.
  • Scaling up: Providing sufficient quantities for high-throughput screening
  • Long-term culture: Maintenance of cell viability and function over long periods 
  • Validation: There is a need for more validation studies to confirm that these models accurately represent human biology and disease.

Sartorius addresses these challenges and more with cutting-edge analytical solutions that streamline advanced cell model R&D workflows and provide translational insights that translate into clinical outcomes for patients in need. 

2D Workflow/Process Diagram 

Traditional, 2D cell cultures utilizing human induced pluripotent (iPSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as versatile and effective platforms not only for therapeutic purposes but also for disease modeling and drug discovery. iPSCs allow to produce quasi limitless supply of patient-specific somatic cells and the possibility to differentiate them into disease -relevant cell types enabling the study of human disease pathophysiology and the identification of new drug targets as well as testing of compounds in vitro

3D Workflow/Process Diagram 

3D cell models such as organoids and spheroids more closely recapitulate human cellular ecosystems which greatly improves clinical translation of new treatments.

Organoids are self-organizing, three-dimensional systems which retain many physiological characteristics of the native tissue from which they are derived. Accordingly, these miniaturized models have significant advantages over the use of traditional immortalized cell lines in providing accurate information on human disease modelling and can be used in the fields of drug screening, disease modeling, personalized medicine and many others.

Spheroids are simpler structures and less differentiated but still aggregation of one or more cell types in 3D cell cultures.

The goal of in vitro 3D cell culture is to enable more physiologically relevant and translational models in a wide range of biomedical applications including disease modeling, drug discovery and screening as well as personalized medicine. Through comprehensive characterization, scientists can develop a deeper understanding of biology, ensure more robust maintenance of stem cells during extended cultures and monitor cells at every step of the 3D organoid and spheroid workflow.

Research Areas for Advanced Cell Systems

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Advanced Tools for Reduced Variability in Disease Modeling

Close the “bench to bedside” gap with innovative tools providing data and translational insights you can trust.

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CGI showing drug discovery using organoids

Predictive Insights for Advanced Cell Models in Drug Discovery

Reduce the risk of downstream failures when utilizing advanced cell models with our high-throughput instruments and automated solutions.

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Solutions to Fast-track Cell Therapies to the Clinic

Explore leading solutions to accelerate progress from R&D, to Process Development and Manufacturing, safely and cost effectively.

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Solutions for Advanced Cell Systems

RUO Cytokines Cell Culture vials

RUO Growth Factors and Cytokines

Cytokines and growth factors are key immune system signaling molecules that regulate immune responses, inflammation, cell growth, and differentiation. Their research has advanced our understanding of immune-related diseases and led to the development of targeted therapies and vaccines.

Sartorius produces high-quality, recombinant cytokines and growth factors for research purposes, free from animal-derived components. These rigorously tested products ensure reliable results, consistent supply, and meet the highest purity and efficacy standards, with ISO9001-certified quality management.

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Classical Media, Reagents and Supplements

Sartorius media, reagents and supplements are designed to support the growth and maintenance of a variety of cells and cell lines while meeting the highest quality standards. Each lot is manufactured under a strictly controlled process according to a Product Master Record for lot-to-lot consistency. 

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Incucyte® Live-Cell Analysis System

The Incucyte® Live-Cell Analysis System enables real-time live-cell analysis directly inside your incubator.  It provides quantitative, label-free in vitro approach for characterization and analysis of 2D and 3D cultures and cell models without ever having to remove cells from the incubator. Incucyte® software makes the process of acquiring, viewing, analyzing and sharing images of living cells easier than ever before. 

  • Cell movement and morphology
  • Organoid culture QC
  • Cell health and proliferation

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Cell Selection Retrieval instrument cellcelector flex

CellCelector Automated Cell Selection and Retrieval Platform

The CellCelector Flex Platform is a fully automated cell imaging and picking system developed for screening, selection and isolation of single cells, clusters, spheroids and organoids as well as single-cell clones and adherent colonies. 

  • Automated scanning, detection and gating of complex 3D structures
  • Organoid transfer with exceptionally low (1 μL) injection volumes of surrounding media into either 100% hydrogel, liquid media or any other medium
  • Successful embedding of spheroids and organoids in 100% Matrigel® into plates with or without cell culture membranes

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iQue Advanced Flow Cytometry Platform

iQue® Advanced Flow Cytometry Platform

The iQue® Advanced Flow Cytometry Platform is a high-throughput suspension cell and bead analysis platform for rapidly profiling of immune-cell phenotype and function in drug discovery and development workflows. Ideal for screens where cells are precious or limited in number, iQue® is the fastest way to generate high-content data from small samples. 

Microfluidics acquisition capability analyses samples as small as 10 μL in a 384-well format, with zero dead volume. Cell detection occurs at rates of thousands of cells per second.

  • Evaluation of T cell response in advanced 3D tumor models
  • Spheroid immune cell killing
  • Immune cell phenotype and function in advanced cell models

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Octet® BLI is an easy-to use, real-time analytical tool that rapidly screens critical quality attributes.

Octet® Label-Free BLI Platform

Octet®️ Label-Free Bio Layer Interferometry (BLI) technology uses optical biosensors to measure protein-protein interactions in parallel, without the use of detection agents. This robust and fluidics-free approach enables fast, real-time characterization of expressed proteins, even in complex and unpurified samples. 

  • Proteome analysis 
  • Affinity determination of antigen – cell surface receptors
  • Evaluation of CRISPR/Cas inhibitor proteins

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Microsart® Mycoplasma, Bacteria and Fungi Rapid qPCR Test Kits

Testing cell cultures for microbial contamination on a regular basis ensures culture performance and parameters remain consistent and reproducible. 

Microsart® Mycoplasma, Bacteria and Fungi qPCR kits offer rapid, reliable and easy-to-use solutions for microbial contamination control in compliance with international guidelines. Get results in just three hours!

  • Accurate results in just three hours
  • Detects a broad range of bacteria and fungi
  • Highest level of qPCR specificity

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Accelerate Time to Clinic

Avoid failures in your pre-clinical / clinical pipeline with translational research tools which recapitulate closer the human in vivo environment enabling better predictive outcomes. 

Translational Insights from Data-Rich Assays

Understand complex biology with greater clarity by utilizing leading-edge technology for the imaging and flow cytometry characterization of 2D immune and stem cells as well as complex, self-organizing 3D models.

Reduce Variability and Ensure Reproducibility

Monitor continuously your 2D and 3D cell colonies, organoids and spheroids as they form and grow over time in controlled environment and capture quantitative information about their morphology, differentiation and health.

Reduce downstream risks with data you can trust – from the start. 

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Featured Resources for Advanced Cell Systems

Organoid Analysis Guide

Organoid Analysis Guide

In order to effectively use organoid models specific and reliable culture and analysis methods are required; learn how.

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Beyond Monoclonal Antibodies - Exploring the Next Generation of Antibody Therapeutics

Beyond Monoclonal Antibodies

Exploring the next generation of antibody therapeutics

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best practices for pipetting 3d cell culture hydrogels
Application Note

Best Practices for Pipetting 3D Cell Culture Hydrogels Application Not...

Learn about the impact of proper pipetting on 3D cell cultures, and which techniques can improve the reproducibility of various experiments.

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Quantifying T Cell Response in 3D Tumor Spheroids Using Advanced Flow Cytometry Workflows
Application Note

Quantifying T Cell Response in 3D Tumor Spheroids Application Note

Measure T-cell response in 3D models with characterization reagents and validated spheroid washing and dissociation protocols.

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Organoids and Spheroids: Automated Workflows for the High-Throughput Selection and Picking of Complex 3D Structures

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Frequently Asked Questions

Organoids are defined by three key characteristics: self-organization, spatially restricted cell fate decisions, and ability to perform at least one function observed in in vivo organ tissue.

Spheroids are also 3D cell culture models, but they represent simple structures of typically the same cell types thus providing a versatile tool for translational research and disease modelling. There is a higher order self-assembly in organoids as opposed to spheroid cultures, and the former is more dependent on a matrix for its generation.

The application with techniques initially developed for analysis with 2D cultures and 3D culture production and specification are seen as main challenges. Still limited by the technologies used to characterize these complex cell models and may introduce variability due to lack of environmental control and inadequate 3D Cell Culture protocols that compromise organoid or spheroid cell health.

The CellCelector Flex platform enables gentle picking of a wide range of organoid sizes, ranging from 80 μm to 3.5 mm with exceptionally low (1 μL) injection volumes of surrounding media into either 100% hydrogel, liquid media or any other medium. It automatically measures morphology before and after the picking and transfer to prove that the organoids retain their morphology and structure due to the very gentle transfer method.

Real-time tracking of changes in organoid eccentricity (object roundness) and darkness (object brightness) with the Incucyte® Live-Cell Analysis System enables rapid, unbiased assessment of optimal culture passage periods.

The iQue® spheroid immune cell killing (ICK) workflow measures subset analysis and cytokines quantification to examine the activation, killing, exhaustion, and memory profiles of T cells during co-culture with single spheroids. The workflows utilize the iQue® Advanced High-Throughput Flow Cytometer with associated suite of T cell characterization reagent kits, and validated spheroid washing and dissociation protocols to provide an end-to-end solution.

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