Home > Group News > Group News Archives: 2013 > Screen Launches High-speed Three-dimensional Cell Culture Scanner


August 7, 2013

Doc. No.: NR130807E

Screen Launches High-speed Three-dimensional Cell Culture Scanner
System Uses Image Processing Technology and Represents Screen’s First Step into Life Sciences Field

Kyoto, Japan - August 7, 2013 - Dainippon Screen Mfg. Co., Ltd. has launched the Cell3iMager (3D cell imager), a high-speed 3D cell culture scanner capable of measuring and analyzing multiplication and morphological changes in cancer cells grown on 3D cell culture plates without using a reagent. Screen plans to use the release of the system in July as an opportunity to establish itself in the life sciences field.








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In recent years, the life sciences field has seen a remarkable expansion in medical and drug development technologies thanks to advances in research and medical equipment. In the cancer field, one of the leading areas for drug development research, the use of 3D cell culturing has been accelerating, due to its ability to closely approximate an actual physical environment. In 2011, this market was valued at $60 million and by 2016 it is expected to grow rapidly by around 4.5 times to reach approximately $274 million. However, the testing methods currently used in 3D cell culturing for cancer research mostly follow the conventional approach and involve first growing the cells and then adding pigments or other reagents and observing any changes. As a result, there are several issues associated with this style of testing, including its labor-intensive nature and the inability to perform follow-up observations on the same cells. This has created a strong requirement for a testing system that can practically and comprehensively resolve these points.

To address this situation, Dainippon Screen developed the Cell3iMager. This 3D cell culture scanner permits the assessment of cell multiplication and morphological and follow-up observation without using reagents. Thanks to the application of Screen’s proprietary image processing technology, the system enables rapid measurement and analysis of multiplication and morphological changes in cancer cells grown on 3D culture plates over time. In addition, as no reagent is applied, the same cancer cells can be used to continuously monitor the effects of experimental drugs without destroying the cells. In contrast to conventional testing systems, the Cell3iMager allows simple yet accurate observation of cancer cells and strongly supports drug development research using 3D cell culturing.

In conjunction with the development of the Cell3iMager, Screen enlisted the cooperation of Dr. Geoffrey Bartholomeusz and Professor Tamio Mizukami for a two year period to verify the utility of the system. Dr. Bartholomeusz is conducting research on the development of cancer drugs using 3D cell culturing at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), one of the world’s leading facilities in the field of advanced cancer research. Professor Mizukami is based at the Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology, which specializes in the development of anticancer drugs. The MDACC recently confirmed the Cell3iMager satisfied its required specifications, allowing the center to reach a final decision to officially adopt the device. Capitalizing on this opportunity, Screen has launched the Cell3iMager as a first step into the life sciences field. Screen intends to find new applications for its proprietary image processing technology in line with its plan to develop equipment that will contribute to the further expansion of this field.



Comments by Dr. Geoffrey Bartholomeusz, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
My research interests are in developing appropriate 3D spheroid cell culture models to be used in high throughput RNAi and small molecule screens for the identification of druggable targets as well as potential chemotherapeutic agents. One of the readouts of these studies is our ability to determine important changes of these spheroids such as changes in volume, area and viability. We have, over the last two years, been serving as a beta site to help in the development of the Cell3iMager from Dainippon Screen. I see great potential and benefits in the use of the Cell3iMager for studies based on 3D spheroid cell culture models. The high quality of the optics and the accompanying software permit the generation of high-quality data. I am confident that the use of the Cell3iMager will contribute significantly to studies utilizing 3D spheroid cell culture models.


University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC)
The MDACC is a large, world-class cancer center operated inside the Texas Medical Center in Houston by the University of Texas. The center was established in 1952 and currently employs 20,000 specialist R&D staff involved in cancer-related treatment, research, education, and prevention.


Comments by Professor Tamio Mizukami, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology
Thanks to the Cell3iMager recently released by Dainippon Screen, it is now comparatively straightforward to measure the multiplication of cancer cells produced by 3D culturing without using a reagent. From now, results assessments of anticancer drugs previously conducted mainly using 2D testing are likely to be widely performed in 3D with this system. I expect it to make a significant contribution in facilities working to develop anticancer drugs.


Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology
The institute was established in Nagahama City in Shiga Prefecture in 2003 and is Japan’s only biotechnology university. It addresses a range of biotechnology issues related to the medical, health, food and energy, and environmental fields and continues to build a comprehensive record of achievement in the areas of education, research, and social contribution.



 Information contained in the news release are current on the date of publication, but may be subject to change without notice.

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