[Sbrana T, Ahluwalia A. Engineering Quasi-Vivo in vitro organ models. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012;745:138-53.]
Cell culture is the workhorse of biologists, toxicologists, tissue engineers and a whole host of research fields in both academia and industry. Having explored individual molecular mechanisms inside cells for decades using traditional cell culture techniques, researchers have only just begun to appreciate that the intricate interconnectivity between cells and cellular networks as well as with the external environment is far more important to cellular orchestration than are single molecular events inside the cell. For example many questions regarding cell, tissue, organ and system response to drugs, environmental toxins, stress and nutrients cannot possibly be answered by concentrating on the minutiae of what goes on in the deepest recesses of single cells. New models are required to investigate cellular cross-talk between different cell types and to construct complex in-vitro models to properly study tissue, organ and system interaction without resorting to animal experiments. This chapter describes how tissue and organ models can be developed using the Quasi-Vivo system and discusses how they may be used in drug toxicity studies.