Experimental studies using human or animal cells play an outstanding role in all areas of basic or applied biomedical research. These types of studies are referred to as cell-based assays. The cells are isolated from the different organs or tissues of the donor organism before they get expanded and cultured in a laboratory environment providing a living model system to perform experiments even in high throughput without using animals.
The new subdivision Cell-Based Sensors (CBS) develops physical transducers like, for instance, metal or polymer-based electrodes on which the cells attach and grow so that their response to any experimental stimulus (chemicals, drugs, microorganism) is measurable non-invasively independent of any chemical labeling (label-free). The principle of the physical measurement and all materials involved are selected carefully to ensure that the cells will not be affected in any way by the measurement itself. Either individual or combinations of transducers are integrated into cell culture vessels to monitor the cells contactless and with a tailored time resolution between milliseconds and days. These cell-based sensors are applied in many different fields of science comprising fundamental problems of medical technology, drug and toxicity screening as well as regenerative medicine. Very different parameters of cell physiology are accessible under the influence of an external stimulus like the cells’ viability, their proliferation rate, their migration rate or changes in cell volume.