Nunclon Sphera 3D culture system
Thermo Scientific Nunclon Sphera culture system is designed for spheroid culture (e.g., 3D tumor spheroids) and organoid culture (e.g., brain organoids) with a wide selection of format from plates to dishes and flasks. The 3D cell culture surface allows virtually no cell attachment to the cultureware, supporting the establishment of 3D spheroids and organoids via cell-to-cell aggregation through naturally secreted extracellular matrices (ECM).
I did a side-by-side comparison of the Nunclon Sphera and Corning® Costar® plates. In the Sphera plates, almost all cells aggregated nicely, whereas the Costar® plates, some cells were left out. Further, the spheroids in the Sphera plates created more pronounced protrusions/buds. I interpret this as Sphera plates having less adhesion, allowing the spheroids to change shape more freely. Since plate surface quality is a key parameter, I am using Sphera plates for my experiments.
— Keisuke Ishihara, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Out of the different low attachment plates I have used to form 3D clusters of stem-cell derived pre-endocrine cells, Nunclon Sphera plates have been by far the best in terms of higher cell aggregation and lower cell death.
— Alberto Bartolom, PhD at Columbia University
Low cell attachment surface
Proprietary surface coating of Nunclon Sphera prohibits any protein adsorption to the cultureware surface, thereby minimizing monolayer cell adhesion to the culture vessel.
Consistent 3D tumor spheroid formation
The reliable cell growth and the ease in controlling the spheroid size on the Nunclon Sphera 96-well U-bottom 3D cell culture plate are important for applications where consistency and reproducibility are valued. 3D tumor spheroids imitate the in vivo development of solid tumors with homogenous growth and, in the cases of sizable tumor, the hypoxic core.
Figure 2. Growth kinetics of HCT 116 colon cancer cells shows early spheroid formation in the Nunclon Sphera 3D cell culture plate, even with low initial seeding density of 100 cells/well.
Figure 3. Size of the HCT 116 3D tumor spheroids can be controlled by the initial seeding densities in the wells. HCT 116 colon cancer cells were cultured on the Nunclon Sphera 3D cell culture plate for 112 hours.
Figure 4. The hypoxic core in a HeLa tumor spheroid after 2 days of culture on the Nunclon Sphera 96-well U-bottom 3D cell culture plate with initial seeding density of 1000 cells/well. The 3D tumor spheroid was stained with Invitrogen Image-iT Red Hypoxia Probe and Invitrogen NucBlue Live ReadyProbes reagent on a Nunc glass bottom dish.
3D cell culture protocols and applications
Protocols for spheroid generation
To help guide you in your 3D cell culture, our R&D teams have developed suggested protocols for the generation of spheroids from the most commonly used cancer cell lines using Nunclon Sphera cell culture plastics and Gibco Media.
|Cell line||Cancer model||Suggested protocol|
|SKOV-3||Ovarian cancer||Thermo Fisher Scientific R&D protocol|
|T47D||Breast cancer||Thermo Fisher Scientific R&D protocol|
|MDA-MB-231||Breast cancer||Thermo Fisher Scientific R&D protocol|
|HepG2||Liver cancer||Thermo Fisher Scientific R&D protocol|
|LNCaP||Prostate cancer||Thermo Fisher Scientific R&D protocol|
|PC-3||Prostate cancer||Thermo Fisher Scientific R&D protocol|
Neurosphere and brain organoid generation
Through endogenously secreted natural ECM, neural stem cells (NSC) aggregate with one another, leading to rapid formation of neurosphere. With specific protocols, consistent cell growth in neurosphere can lead to further differentiation to multi-cellular structures known as brain organoid with tissue-specific morphology and function.
Embryoid body formation
Embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) form 3D aggregates, known as embryoid body (EB), held together by complex network of adhesion molecules. The paracrine signaling within an embryoid body is crucial to embryogenesis in respond to environmental cues that lead to the eventual differentiation of three germ layers.
Model system for high-throughput screening (HTS) in drug discovery
High failure rate of new drug development that incurs enormous cost for both pharmaceutic companies and consumers calls for better 3D cell models in the early stages of the drug development process. 3D cell spheroids and organoids, with uniform size and centered location in the wells of the Nunclon Sphera 3D cell culture microplates, present an attractive and more biologically relevant 3D cell model system for drug discovery and disease modeling where high-throughput screening on high-content screening platforms is often employed.
Figure 9. A brightfield image of consistent A549 human lung 3D tumor spheroids with uniform size and shape in the Nunclon Sphera 96-well U-bottom plate.
Webinar series: Harnessing New Dimensions in your Research—3D cell culture and analysis
Get useful tips on how to consistently generate spheroids and organoids. Learn more about advanced technologies and best practices in growing and analyzing cells in 3D culture.
3D eLearning Module
Learn about spheroid and organoid culture techniques, applications, and various imaging modalities including high-content analysis through this interactive online course
For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.