Transforming the Organ Tissue Model
StemoniX Finds Billion-Cell Lots Enhance the Consistency of Toxicity Testing Operations
The microHeart® and microBrain® microtissues developed by StemoniX overcome many of the challenges associated with tissues developed from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to provide greater consistency and high degrees of functionality for high-throughput drug screening and toxicity testing, according to company officials.
“When we founded the company in 2014,” recalls Ping Yeh, StemoniX’ CEO and cofounder, “everyone said that they wanted 3D tissue.” But when the prospective customers were invited to describe their drug development work, they revealed that what they really wanted were mature cells that were structured properly.
“Function follows structure in biology,” notes Mr. Yeh. “The stem cell-derived organ cells that were available were created from traditional flat cultureware and were very immature,” and so lacked the structure and function of native human tissue.
Mr. Yeh and StemoniX’ other cofounder, Bob Petcavich, Ph.D., are delivering this structure and cellular maturity in a 2D+ model. The result is organ microtissue that combines the best features of both 2D and 3D tissues in a form than can be analyzed easily.
Traditionally, heart or brain cells developed from hiPSCs were grown on flat surfaces. Making things 3D was thought to be the only way to drive maturity.
“Although traditional cultureware is flat and easy to control, the cells grown there lack the structure and function of cells grown in the body,” says Mr. Yeh. “Our 2D+ approach is the best of both worlds, delivering tissue structure and function similar to that of native tissue.
“To visualize the microHeart tissue structure, think of a corrugated metal roof or corduroy fabric. They’re flat, but they have structure. We’re producing microtissues that are one to two layers thick, but are organized.”
StemoniX is leading the development and manufacturing of human induced pluripotent stem cells for academic and industrial pharmaceutical research and discovery applications, such as biologically accurate, miniaturized organ-like microtissues. Its biotechnology provides scientists the ultimate “in vitro” testing environment with standardized, easy-to-use, cost-effective access to relevant human microtissue for toxicity and efficacy screening. Incorporated in Minnesota, the company is co-located in Minneapolis and San Diego, Calif. For more information visit www.stemonix.com.
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