Breakthrough in IT needed for practical usage of 3D organ models

There is more and more evidence that 3D tissue and organ models better reflect a given part of living organisms than traditional 2D systems. However, an analysis of experimental data gained from 3D model systems is still in its infancy. Considerable IT development is needed for reliable imaging and data analysis.

Recently, 3D model systems have come into the limelight. These models better represent conditions in living organism relationships, cell-to-cell interactions and micro-environmental effects than traditional 2D models. However, an analysis of the data collected from experiments with spheroids, organs-on-a-chip and organoids still poses several questions. Large-scale IT development is required for an understanding of the data provided by 3D models.

The three leading organisations for cell analysis and bio-informatics, the European Cell-Based Assays Interest Group (EuCAI), the Society of Biomolecular Imaging and Informatics (SBI2), and the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS), published a joint article to bring to the scientific community’s attention the open questions concerning 3D illness modeling. The article, which was published in one of the most excellent life sciences journals, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, was written by bioinformation scientist Péter Horváth, President of EuCAI and a Senior Research Fellow at the MTA Biological Research Centre, Szeged, Hungary, and his colleagues. The study includes a SWOT analysis of the major advantages and limitations of the design, microscopic imaging and analysis, and screening of 3D cell models, as well as the possibilities and dangers associated with the method.

Their most important findings are as follows:

  • The most important challenge for model design is the modelling of dynamic relationships in the body.
  • Despite their proven advantages, reliable data analysis is a great problem regarding experiments with 3D models. In comparison with the traditional 2D models (so-called “flat biology”), a computational analysis of data obtainable from complex 3D models is a challenge for which information science is not yet ready in terms of required memory size and calculation time.
  • If data analysis is raised to a higher level and user-friendly algorithms which can be applied without a deep background knowledge of information technology are written, 3D organ models can be used generally world-wide.