Tuesday, February 14, 2017
New 3-D model could improve treatment of TB, other diseases.
A team of researchers and engineers has created a 3-D model that they say can improve the study and treatment of tuberculosis and other infections. The team at the University of Southampton and University College London, United Kingdom, has conducted studies on how the new model can be used to observe human cellular response to TB infection. Researchers say it will also compensate for shortcomings in traditional 2-D models. This model will help speed up the process of finding treatments and vaccines for human tuberculosis, an infection that kills 1.8 million people per year. The team used a 3-D model to integrate engineering and biological approaches with clinical specimens to create an entirely new system of studying infection. By way of electrostatic encapsulation, the team created microspheres containing human cells, which were then infected with TB bacteria. The 3-D approach creates conditions — including the presence of an extracellular matrix — that are more like those existing in the human lung compared with the 2-D cultures on plastic, researchers said. The new model also allows up to 3 weeks of experimentation, which is more than four times the window provided by the old method.