Reinnervate has been granted a Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network / EPSRC Industrial CASE Award to fund the development of a next-generation Alvetex® scaffold optimised for 3D hepatocyte culture. Enhanced 3D in vitro models of liver tissues are anticipated to be of great importance to academic and industrial investigators for basic research and testing the function and toxicity of new pharmaceuticals.
The award, which amounts to £65,000 over three years, will be used to investigate ways of enhancing Alvetex by coating its surface with sugar molecules that are natural ligands for receptors found on liver cells. The sugar-modified Alvetex is expected to display significantly greater affinity for liver cells than untreated Alvetex and result in the enhanced growth and function of liver cells in culture. This hypothesis will be tested using several different cell types, including primary rat hepatocytes and primary human liver cells.
Reinnervate’s core Alvetex technology is a unique and proprietary scaffold that enables routine 3D cell culture in the laboratory. Alvetex provides a nanoscale environment that supports genuine homogeneous 3D cell growth. Cells grown using Alvetex form complex 3D tissue cultures, which more closely mimic normal in vivo cell growth and the formation of tissues in the body. The use of Alvetex-derived 3D cell cultures can provide researchers with greater insight into how cells behave in the body in response to external factors (such as drug candidates) than is currently possible with existing 2D or other emerging 3D cell culture technologies.