3D Culture of Cancer Cells

Many researchers want 3D culture alternatives to standard flask culture because they need to better reproduce the physiological conditions under which cancer cells grow. In a hollow fibre bioreactor cells will grow post-confluently in 3 dimensions around porous, semi-permeable “capillaries” and these are conditions that more closely resemble the in vivo situation compared to monolayer culture. Very high cell densities of around 1E+8 cells/ml can be maintained continuously for long periods.

Hollow fibre bioreactor fits in a standard incubator for convenient cell culture scale-up

Growth of cells around porous, semi-permeable hollow fibres, perfused with media. Small molecules such as glucose, metabolites and antibiotics can easily cross the fibres.

A complete FiberCell Hollow Fibre Bioreactor can be placed easily on the shelf of an incubator or inside a hypoxic chamber for continuous culture of more than 1E+9 cells in a 20ml cartridge. Depending on the experiment, this large number of cells can mean enormous gains in convenience and efficiency.

Hollow fibre bioreactor fits in a standard incubator for convenient cell culture scale-up

A FiberCell® Bioreactor, complete with media reservoirs, will easily fit inside a standard incubator. No special connections required.

Avoid serum

Under high cell density bioreactor conditions it is usually possible to completely replace serum with a chemically-defined substitute called CDM-HD that is protein-free and containing only low molecular weight components. In this way, a FiberCell bioreactor can further help the researcher to recapitulate in vivo growth conditions where cells are not exposed to serum.

Collect enriched secretome

Highly enriched conditioned media can be periodically collected, e.g. for secretome analysis / proteomics or to obtain large amounts of concentrated extracellular vesicles. FiberCell hollow fibre cartridges are available in a range of sizes with protein-retentive 5Kd or 20Kd molecular weight cut-offs. A special 0.1µm fibre is also available.


Successful co-culture tissue modelling has been achieved using the FiberCell bioreactor, for example to create a bone marrow model or to investigate transendothelial migration of lymphocytes with endothelial cells grown as artificial capillaries, under flow conditions, on the luminal side of 0.1µm pore size fibres. Article: 3-D in vitroModels using Hollow Fiber Bioreactors

Other 3D Culture Applications

Because the FiberCell System is capillarized with porous fibres it has inspired the development of various 3D culture projects, for example:

Long term gut model for culturing large amounts of C.parvum

Bone marrow model

Artificial capillaries model with endothelial cells inside fibres under flow and shear stress

3D Culture (Cancer Cells) References:

See our customer publications

Starter kit for 3D culture and collection of secretome

Cat.# Description Qty
P3202 FiberCell® Systems Duet 1
C2011 High Flux PS Cartridge 20 kd (3000 cm2 – 20 ml)* 1
A – – – 33mm, 38mm or 45mm Reservoir Cap 1
CDM-HD Serum replacement 1

* Option: C2018 High Flux PS Cartridge 20 kd (1.2 m2 – 70 ml), providing 4 X more fibre surface area.

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