U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Berkeley Lab Research on Three-Dimensional Cell Culture Featured in Nature
Published: August 27, 2003
Posted: September 05, 2003

Much research in the life sciences involves culturing cells in the laboratory using a growth medium in which the cells arrange themselves in flat two-dimensional (2-D) layers. But cells in living organisms are arranged in three dimensional complexes (3-D). Research by Mina Bissell and colleagues at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has pioneered ways to culture cells in the laboratory in a 3-D arrangement enabling studies of how cells behave in the organism. They have used these 3-D culture conditions to show how normal and breast cancer cells differ in 3-D, to screen for environmental insults and drugs to reverse the malignant phenotype, and to show that cells in 3-D cultures can have significantly different responses to antibodies from those of the same cells in 2-D cultures. The LBNL research is described in a feature article ("Biology's new dimension") in the August 21, 2003, issue of Nature. The article discusses findings at LBNL on the behavior of breast cancer cells and includes a photograph of the laboratory where the research is being done.

Contact: Roland F. Hirsch, SC-73, (301) 903-9009
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Structural Biology, Biomolecular Characterization and Imaging
  • Legacy: Medical Applications

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-73 Medical Sciences Division, OBER)


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