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Upgrade Your Cell-Based Assays to 3D
Welcome to InSphero's Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>> <<Last Name>>,

Welcome to the first edition of
InSphero’s quarterly newsletter designed to keep you up to date on the latest developments in the world of 3D microtissues for substance evaluation and drug development.

This newsletter is being sent to you the first time as we believe that it is of valuable information for you and your company or institution. However, if you rather prefer not to receive our newsletter in future then we kindly ask you to unsubscribe by clicking on the corresponding button at the end of this e-mail. In this case, we apologize for any inconveniences caused.
 
A major highlight this Fall was the commercial launch of our first set of a ready-to-use microtissue comprising six different cancer models. Our tissues provide a more native-like, 3-dimensional environment as compared to standard monolayer cultures for more biomimetic cell-based assays.
 
We wish you an enjoyable reading and thank you for your interest in our newsletter, engagement and support.
 
Best regards

InSphero AG

Dr. Jan Lichtenberg
Dr. Jens M. Kelm
Dr. Wolfgang Moritz
Managers & Founders
Contents
New Tumor Microtissues Launched
Workshop on Drug Testing Using 3D Microtissues
Scientific Review of EUSAAT/ESTIV tox conference
More InSphero News


New Tumor Microtissues Launched
Jens M. Kelm

In September, InSphero has launched its first set of ready-to-use microtissues comprising six different cancer models. The tissue models are derived from six human cancer-cell lines (CCLL) of the NCI60 panel and comprise two colon cancers (hCo-CCL01MT and hCo-CCL01MT), one glioblastoma (hCNS-CCL01MT), one hepatocarcinoma (hLi-CCL01MT), one kidney carcinoma (hKi-CCL01MT) and one prostate carcinoma (hLi-CCL01MT). These microtissues are delivered off-the-shelf in 96-well standard plates with one tissue per well and a size variation below 10%.
We also want to make sure that you can verify the added value of our organotypic cancer models easily at reasonable cost. To this end we added two “Test your Target” products to our offering:

  • The “Test-Your-Target” multi-tissue slide is an array comprising paraffin-embedded sections of all six cancer models on one glass slide.
  • The “Test-Your-Target” RNA extract allows for performing a quantitative gene expression analysis using total RNA extracts of the individual cancer microtissues.

Read more here.

Invitation to Workshop on Drug Testing Using 3D Microtissues
Boston and San Francisco in November 2010
Jens M. Kelm

3D-cell-culture technologies are constantly gaining momentum as more physiologic and predictive model systems in drug development. In recent years, major advancements have been made to recreate 3-dimensional tissue-like environments for a wide range of different tissues. To keep you up-to-date with the newest developments in 3D-cell-culture technologies for toxicological and efficacy studies, we would like to invite you to visit our half-day workshops.
The next two events are for our US customers and will take place in

  • San Francisco on November 18 (afternoon)
  • Boston on November 23 (afternoon)
Participation is free of charge, but the number of participants is limited. Please enroll until October 29 and feel free to pass the invitation and program on to your colleagues. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

You can find the announcement with a link to the full program, access maps and sign-up form here.


Scientific review of EUSAAT/ESTIV September 2010 in Linz, Austria
Simon Messner

This year the joint congress of the societies EUSAAT (European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing) and ESTIV (European Society of Toxicology in Vitro) was held in Linz, Austria. With nearly 200 posters, over 50 oral presentations and several workshops, this congress was the major scientific event in the field of the 3R`s (Replace, Refine, Reduce). The sessions covered a wide range of topics, including « metabolism and toxikinetics », « skin sensitization and eye irritation », « acute and long term toxicity », « Nanotoxicology »  and « Reproductive toxicology and stem cells ».
In general, the importance of human hepatocyte culture models was emphasized. Traditionally, primary human hepatocytes are used for toxicology testing in vitro. Since the availability of such cells is limited, other sources of human hepatocytes are becoming increasingly important. For example human pluripotent stem cells can be differentiated into hepatocytes and show acceptable hepatocyte-specific functions. However, most culture models lack the natural environment with proper cell-cell contacts and cells quickly de-differentiate and lose their functionality. It was shown by several speakers that this obstacle can be overcome by cultivation of hepatocytes in bioreactors or as spheroids in suspension. These culture models allow for the maintenance of a differentiated state of the hepatocytes as well as for low-throughput drug testing. During the session « Reproductive Toxicology » it was emphasized that a major part of chemicals is activated by metabolically competent cells and is only toxic after this bioactivation. The currently applied Embryonic Stem Cell test (EST) does not include this fact, but several attempts are undertaken to develop co-culture systems, in which the metabolic activation of drugs is included. For the activation of drugs it is suggested to use human cells, since the predictivity of animal experiments for human toxicity is in question. This fact was also emphasized by a speaker of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States. Therefore, major attempts are now undertaken to facilitate research on alternatives in animal testing, which should allow in future a more predictive, animal-free toxicology testing for the 21st century. Most of the tools for such research are already available, they just need to be used and implemented.
 
You can find the conference homepage here and the abstracts here.


InSphero completes financing round and relaunches website
Jan Lichtenberg

In August 2010, InSphero AG has secured 1.8 million CHF in a Series A financing led by Redalpine Venture Partners. We will invest the capital from Redalpine, business angels and the Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB) to better serve you at a worldwide level. Our first steps are the formation of a dedicated sales and customer-support team as well as the increase of our production capacity for our unique portfolio of organotypic microtissues.
 
Please check out our completely renewed web site at www.insphero.com. We are constantly working on enhancing its usefulness for you by adding general scientific information on 3D cell culture, proven protocols for our products and handling instruction.

About InSphero
InSphero is a leading supplier of organotypic, biological microtissues for predictive drug testing. The company, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, currently collaborates with more than ten global pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies to implement the company’s patent-pending microtissue technology in the customer’s development work-flow. InSphero is a spin-off company of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and the University Zurich and was founded in 2009. InSphero was recognized for its scientific and commercial achievements with a number of awards, including the VentureKick award, Heuberger Entrepreneurial Award and CTIstartup certification.


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