Biotech

3D Science

Why study life in two dimensions when you can do the same in three? Thanks to QGel, bench science—science carried out in a lab, typically in flat, plastic Petri dishes—now has a tool that allows for a more realistic arrangement.

QGel is a CTI Start-up company based at Parc Scientifique on the campus of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). They manufacture a synthetic 3D matrix, giving scientists the ability to grow and observe cells in life-like situations without the need for human or animal hosts.

“The people most interested in QGel technology and using 3D QGel will be scientists in regenerative medicine, stem cell technology, tissue engineering, and developing new therapies for cancer,” says the company’s CEO, Colin Sanctuary.

By combining the QGel powder with a liquid buffer, scientists can encapsulate their cells in a gel medium within five minutes. The technology provides a superior environment for developing anti-cancer drugs, for example, whose effect on cells grown in 2D differ greatly compared to the tumor-like growths of a 3D environment such as QGel.

Of course, 3D science isn’t completely novel. QGel’s true innovation is its ability to create a 3D synthetic gel, free of animal or human tissue, and therefore easily scaled up.

QGel only manufactured their first industrial batch in May, 2010. By September, 2010, Sanctuary returned to the Bay Area for the second time to meet with customers and potential clients and to visit swissnex San Francisco for assistance entering the U.S. market.

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