Modeling and analysis of disease microenvironments with 3D cell culture technology

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Remarkable progress in our ability to analyze diseased tissue has revolutionized our understanding of disease. From a simplistic understanding of abnormalities in bulk tissue, there is now increasing recognition that the heterogeneous and dynamically evolving disease microenvironment plays a crucial role in disease pathogenesis and progression as well as in the determination of therapeutic response. The disease microenvironment consists of multiple cell types as well as the various factors that these cells secrete. There is now immense interest in treatment strategies that target or modify the abnormal disease microenvironment, and a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that drive the formation, maintenance, and progression of the disease microenvironment is thus necessary. The advent of 3-dimensional (3D) cell culture technology has made possible the reconstitution of the disease microenvironment to a previously unimaginable extent in vitro. As an intermediate between traditional in vitro models based on 2-dimensional (2D) cell culture and in vivo models, 3D models of disease enable the in vitro reconstitution of complex interactions within the disease microenvironment which were unamenable in 2D while simultaneously allowing the mechanistic analysis of these interactions that would be dificult to perform in vivo. This symposium review aims to highlight the promise of using 3D cell culture technology to model and analyze the disease microenvironment using pancreatic cancer as an example.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-653
Number of pages7
JournalYakugaku Zasshi
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2021


  • 3-dimensional cell culture
  • Disease microenvironment
  • Disease model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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