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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Cell-ebration

Ever since scientists learned how to culture cells and tissue outside a living organism (in vitro) the method has served as an excellent, highly controlled experimental platform that has helped them understand the basics of cellular physiology: how cells function and respond to different stimuli. The era of ‘cell culturing’ started in the late 19th century with the development of the ‘Ringer solution’ – named after the British physiologist Sydney Ringer – and was further established by a number of pioneering publications by Ross Granville Harrison in the early 20th century (1-4).

With the discovery of how cells in culture can be multiplied and with the establishment of the first human-derived cell line (the ‘HeLa’ cells), a new avenue of research opened up for cell biologists, together with the foundation of work leading to fundamental knowledge about cellular behaviour.

However, although in vitro systems have been important during the last hundred years, there is an acceptance and mass of evidence that traditional two-dimensional (2D) in vitro systems – ie cells grown at the bottom of a glass flask – poorly reflect the complexity of the in vivo process. In the in vitro environment, tissue-specific architecture, mechanical and biochemical cues and cell-cell communications are absent (see Table 1), resulting in transitional issues within pharmaceutical research when going from in vitro-based models to animal models, ie ‘from bench to bedside’ (5).

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Professor Fredrik Johansson has an MSc in biophysics and a PhD in zoological cell biology. His research is focused on physical cues in interfaces between cells/tissue and artificial nanostructures. Frederik’s main body of publications describe how neurons in general and their cell extensions, in particular the axons, are affected by small structures. The nanostructures he has worked with are nanoimprinted polymer patterns, porous silicon and electrospun fibers, among others. Research into electrospinning also led to the formation of an electrospinning company Cellevate AB, of which Frederik is one of the cofounders. He is now an Associate Professor at Lund University, Sweden.

Maximilian Ottosson is one of the co-founders and the current Chief Executive Officer of Cellevate, a Swedish company working with the production and commercialisation of nanofibrous materials for life sciences applications such as tissue engineering and 3D cell culture. The company has so far successfully launched a product line for 3D cell culture based on fiber materials. Maximilian has an MSc in engineering, engineering nanoscience, with a specialisation in nano-biomedicine and biophysics from Lund University, Sweden.

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Professor Fredrik Johansson
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Maximilian Ottosson
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