One of the most promising avenues for 3D cell culture technology is the use of organoid models, synthetic environments that grow small tissue samples using stem cells. Their use could drive significant purchasing within the field, but the real potential comes when a plethora of organoid models are specialized to a particular task. For instance, the organ-on-a-chip paradigm — the development of organoids on electronic chips — allows scientists to assay cultures of cardiac cells for electrical activity in real time.
Organoid models could also enable doctors to grow a wide variety of cell types from harvested stem cells, making the dream of truly personalized medicine much more achievable. Not only could doctors grow transplantable cells and tissues; they could also test a wide variety of drugs for adverse reactions before administering them to patients.
These kinds of possible paradigm shifts in the medical industry herald a huge upswing in the 3D cell culture market. Tools for pure research can be very successful in their own right, but it's their applications in direct patient care that hold the potential for incredible sales volume. If the effect on patient outcomes is pronounced enough, it could become standard practice to test any major new drug choice on cells before exposing the whole body. Were that to happen, there's no telling how large the industry could become.
In the next five years, analysts believe that research will drive sales and double the size of the 3D cell culture market. But given the possibilities, that doubling could be just the beginning.