The 3D Cell Culture Market Is Set for Rapid, Sustained Growth | 3D Cell Culture Market | Corning

Science is big business — and even bigger in 3D. With 3D cell culturing technologies becoming more prevalent in the lab and more sophisticated in application, profits for the 3D cell culture market are set to skyrocket.

According to Reuters' Market Study Report, income from 3D cell culture products could almost double in the next five years, from $510 million in 2019 to a projected $970 million in 2024. The market's not just getting bigger but more diverse, and an increase in the variety of products available allows the 3D cell culture market to pursue a wider array of therapeutic targets.

As the market grows, so, too, does the list of diseases that new techniques in tissue growth could address.

3D Has More Sides Than You Think

The 3D cell culture market is divided into two basic functional groups, which are subdivided into therapeutic groups. In terms of design, there are growth environments with scaffold structures, which direct cell growth in three dimensions, and there are environments without them. Scaffold-based platforms have advantages on some, but not all, cell types. Cancer research on uncontrolled tumor growth, for example, takes place on scaffold-free platforms, which better mimic the natural environment that tumors encounter.

On the other hand, the market is also divided by application, including cancer studies and stem cell research. One ultimate goal is for 3D culture to drive synthetic tissue and organ growth for transplants.

Key Submarkets Drive Growth

Right now, two fields dominate more than three-quarters of current market sales: cancer research, the market's most established application area, accounts for a hair more than 40%; drug discovery, another 36%.

But fields such as regenerative medicine and stem cell research could grow as the market matures in the coming years, as they represent the majority of the overall upswing in research spending. These fields collectively make up the last quarter of the market, but as the field transitions from pure research to therapeutics, they could make a push toward market parity.

A Bright Future

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.