Using donated human cells to investigate human reactions. The FRAME Alternatives Laboratory uses cells derived from human tissues to produce biologically relevant in vitro models of human organs, which behave and respond in the way they would in the body. Rather than growing cells as a single layer on plastic surfaces, it uses three dimensional scaffolds, which introduce flow into the systems to replicate the environment found in living humans. Current cell models include: human liver, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue and skin.
All of these models include all the cell types found in that organ.
For example: the skin model can be designed to include langerhans cells and melanocytes in conjunction with keratinocytes. This allows the skin model to be used to assess potential effects of compounds on inflammatory response and effects on pigmentation as well as keratinocyte differentiation and formation of a healthy stratum corneum.
Modern molecular and cellular biological techniques are used to assess cell behaviour in terms of gene and protein expression (for example in the skin model the lab examines expression of genes involved in collagen and elastin synthesis) and cell death and survival and cell differentiation.