With the emergence of newer technologies in 3D culture, the use of human primary cells in combination with these advanced cell culture technologies is currently becoming the new gold standard to mimic cellular microenvironments more closely in vitro and to achieve improved results. These specialized models can better mimic the natural cellular in vivo environment, resulting in a more biologically relevant approach and providing more reliable data. A clear need has emerged recently, especially within the pharmaceutical drug discovery pipeline, for primary cells in 3D culture technologies that can provide throughput in a 96-well, 384-well, and 1536-well format, allowing researchers to generate large numbers of tissue-like models for drug screening. The ability to use more physiologically relevant in vitro models created with patient-derived primary cells could accelerate the discovery and development of the next generation of personalized treatments. Several factors such as age, medical history, race, and sex can be considered when using primary cells to build an experimental model. Such donor variability and tissue complexity can only be achieved with use of primary cells and are difficult to replicate with cell lines that are very systematic and uniform in nature and do not capture the true diversity of a living tissue.
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