PerspectiveCELL MATRIX

Dynamic Microenvironments: The Fourth Dimension

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Science Translational Medicine  14 Nov 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 160, pp. 160ps24
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004804

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The extracellular space, or cell microenvironment, choreographs cell behavior through myriad controlled signals, and aberrant cues can result in dysfunction and disease. For functional studies of human cell biology or expansion and delivery of cells for therapeutic purposes, scientists must decipher this intricate map of microenvironment biology and develop ways to mimic these functions in vitro. In this Perspective, we describe technologies for four-dimensional (4D) biology: cell-laden matrices engineered to recapitulate tissue and organ function in 3D space and over time.

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