As the leader in 3D cell culture characterization and analysis, Visikol is now expanding their service offering through the introduction of its own liver 3D cell culture models. In an effort to build a consensus in the market, Visikol will be open-sourcing all of its models, protocols and validation criteria so that any researcher can replicate these models for their internal research efforts.
Recently, researchers have begun to make the shift from 2D to 3D cell culture models, as 3D models have been shown in various applications to better recapitulate the complex in vivo microenvironment. Particularly in liver contexts, 3D models derived from human hepatocytes have been shown to more accurately mimic liver functionalities, bile canalicular networks, and expression of key drug transporters relevant to human metabolism when compared to 2D cultures or even in vivo mouse models.
Despite the increasing implementation of 3D models to study drug induced liver injury (DILI) and other liver disease phenotypes (i.e. steatosis, inflammation, fibrosis), proprietary practices of private companies and many labs have stymied the generation of consensus around appropriate models for particular research questions. This lack of consensus often lends to the implementation of needlessly expensive and complex models (e.g. a primary hepatocyte and non-parenchymal cell co-culture) to address simplistic questions that could be answered with more inexpensive biology (e.g. HepG2 spheroids). Alternatively, models lacking specific physiological functionalities are occasionally implemented inappropriately to answer complex questions, misleading the interpretations of results.
As a leader in 3D cell culture assays, Visikol has decided to address this need for consensus by introducing its own suite of open source 3D cell culture models, offered under the OpenLiver™ 3D cell culture model platform. Through this endeavor, Visikol will openly provide all protocols, material procurement information, validation criteria, and assay guidance, in an effort to start building consensus in the field and to allow for the more rapid adoption of these models. “The reason we launched our OpenLiver™ initiative is that we recognized that there is little consensus in the 3D cell culture space about which model is ideal for specific research questions, and many researchers needlessly use expensive and complex biology whereas other researchers attempt to use inadequate biology to address their research question” explained Visikol Chief Science Officer Dr. Tom Villani.
Through a partnership with Biopredic, Visikol has launched its OpenLiver™ initiative with the OpenLiver™ 3D HepaRG™ NP model, which is a co-culture of HepaRG™ cells and a non-parenchymal cell population. While this model does not use primary human hepatocytes, it is highly reproducible, since it leverages HepaRG OpenLiver™ 3D HepaRG™ NP hepatoma cells, which allows for sufficient in vivo relevancy for many research questions at a lower price point relative to primary human hepatocytes. “One of the main goals of our OpenLiver™ 3D HepaRG™ NP initiative is to not only launch models that we can use in our services, but also to educate researchers about how best to answer their research question and which models are most suitable for different questions” described Visikol Director of In Vitro Studies Dr. Erin Edwards.
Visikol has begun to offer its OpenLiver™ 3D HepaRG / NPC model for use within its assay services and has priced the model so that it is affordable for any research group.