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Cell co-culturesCellularized scaffoldsin vitroMagnetic scaffoldsmicrofabricationorganellesOrganoids


The reproduction of complex biological structures with different cell types and specific 3D architectures resembling biological tissues (i.e., organoids) is of fundamental importance for performing reliable preclinical in vitro studies. The invention allows stable interfacing between multiple 3D cell cultures via magnetic interactions, thus allowing to obtain, in a simple manner, complex 3D biological organelles. The approach is non-invasive and based on 3D biocompatible magnetic scaffolds fabricated by two-photon polymerization, an innovative lithographic approach. TRL4.

Technical features

The aim of the invention is to provide an easy method to obtain 3D co-culture systems. The technical problem consists in producing a 3D co-culture system through the self-assembly of basic structures, each of these containing a specific cell. At the same time, the system is designed to maintain the ability to identify / locate basic structures within the co-culture via non-invasive means. The proposed solution is based on optically transparent ferromagnetic and superparamagnetic 3D scaffolds (SFM and SSM respectively) fabricated by two-photon polymerization. The SFM inherently possesses a magnetic dipole moment, like a tiny permanent magnet. Otherwise, the SSM shows a magnetic dipole moment only when exposed to an external magnetic field (CME). The fabricated bases can then allow self-assembly of two or more SFMs. Likewise, an SFM and an SSM can lock onto each other. Otherwise, two SSMs do not lock onto each other unless they are exposed to a CME, which can control their placement.

Possible Applications

  • Drug screening;
  • Biology assays;
  • Tissue engineering;
  • Nanomedicine.


  • Optically transparent cell co-cultures in 3D;
  • Simplicity: magnetic positioning and self-assembly;
  • Cell culture localisation based on shape-coding;
  • Modular/hierarchical approach.