November 2010

LGC and reinnervate collaborate to improve in vitro toxicity testing for drug discovery

LGC, an international science-based company and market leader in analytical, forensic and diagnostic services and reference standards, is partnering with reinnervate, a UK biotechnology company, to offer reinnervate’s novel three dimensional (3D) in vitro culturing scaffold, alvetex®.

Manufactured from porous polystyrene, alvetex enables 3D cell culture with minimal alteration to routine laboratory procedures, offering substantial benefits associated with improved cell growth. In contrast to conventional 2D cell culture, where cells are grown in flat sheets, alvetex provides a scaffold within which cells can grow and signal one another, forming 3D structures and retaining cell morphology which effectively mimics in vivo cell growth.

The alvetex system is expected to have a revolutionary impact across cell culture research and there has already been a considerable body of peer reviewed publications* generated using the alvetex scaffold. One application of this 3D scaffold is to improve research into the toxicity of new pharmaceuticals which has the potential to reduce the need for animal based testing. Through studies funded by the UK’s National Measurement System, LGC scientists have demonstrated the ability of alvetex to imitate liver cells in the corporeal environment with significantly higher expression of key liver enzymes involved in drug metabolism and improved responses of the cells to known cytotoxic compounds. The improved data generation offered by reinnervate’s 3D technology for the drug discovery and development process will be a key focus of LGC’s partnership with reinnervate.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of reinnervate, Professor Stefan Przyborski commented, “Collaborating with LGC has given us access to expertise and equipment that have been invaluable in helping reinnervate achieve results that extend the application range of our technology. This project has helped us in establishing the alvetex technology and we are pleased our product is now commercially available through LGC Standards”.

Jeffrey Anthony, Biologicals Business Unit Manager at LGC Standards said, “3D cell culture is widely recognised as offering many advantages to cell biologists by enabling cell behaviour which more effectively mimics in vivo characteristics. The alvetex product now makes the benefits of 3D culture routinely available to research laboratories across the world and we are delighted to enable access to this important technology in partnership with reinnervate”.

Alvetex has been launched in a 12-well culture plate format and is available now from LGC Standards (www.lgcstandards.com) For prices and ordering information, please email:  cell@lgcstandards.com or tel: +44 (0)20 8943 8489.

*(1) Fox B.C., Devonshire A.S., Schutte M.E., Foy C.A., Minguez J., Przyborski S., Maltman D., Bokhari M., Marshall D., Validation of reference gene stability for APAP hepatotoxicity studies in different in vitro systems and identification of novel potential toxicity biomarkers, Toxicol. In Vitro, 24(7): 1962-70, (2010).

(2) Carnachan R.J., Bokhari M., Maatta, A., Cameron N.R., Przyborski S.A., Emulsion-templated porous scaffolds enabling three dimensional cell culture, Polymer Preprints, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 49: 418-419, (2008).

(3) Bokhari M., Carnachan R., Przyborski S.A., Cameron N.R., Effect of synthesis parameters on emulsion-templated porous polymer formation and evaluation for 3D cell culture scaffolds, J. Materials. Chem., 17: 4088-94, (2007).

(4) Bokhari M., Carnachan R., Cameron N.R., Przyborski S.A., Culture of HepG2 liver cells on three dimensional polystyrene scaffolds enhances cell structure and function during toxicological challenge, J. Anat., 211: 567-76, (2007).

(5) Bokhari M., Carnachan R., Cameron  N.R., Przyborski, S.A., Novel cell culture device enabling three-dimensional cell growth and improved cell function, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 354: 1095-1100, (2007).