Cellular assays are the backbone of biological studies - be it for tissue modeling, drug discovery, therapeutics, or diagnostics. Two-dimensional (2D) cell culture has been deployed for several decades to garner physiologically relevant information and predict data before the cost-intensive animal testing. Although 2D techniques have been valuable for cellular assays, they have a colossal limitation - they do not adequately consider the natural three-dimensional (3D) microenvironment of the cells. As a result, they sometimes provide misleading statistics. Therefore, it is important to develop a 3D model that predicts cellular behaviors and their interaction with neighboring cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) in a more realistic manner. In recent biomedical research, various platforms have been modeled to generate 3D prototypes of tissues, spheroids, in vitro that could allow the study of cellular responses resembling in vivo environments, such as matrices, scaffolds, and devices. But most of these platforms have drawbacks such as lack of spheroid size control, low yield, or high cost associated with them. On the other hand, Amikagel is a low cost, high-fidelity platform that can facilitate the convenient generation of tumor and stem cell spheroids. Furthermore, Amikabeads are aminoglycoside-derived hydrogel microbeads derived from the same monomers as Amikagel. They are a versatile platform with several chemical groups that can be exploited for encapsulating the spheroids and investigating the delivery of bioactive compounds to the cells. This thesis is focused on engineering novel 3D tumor and stem cell models generated on Amikagel and encapsulated in Amikabeads for proximal delivery of bioactive compounds and applications in regenerative medicine.
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