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Cell Invasion & Migration Assays

Creative Animodel provides the comprehensive range of preclinical laboratory services for new drug discovery and development. Our cell services can help investigate whether the drug candidates had any effect on cell invasion and migration.

What Is Cell Invasion and Migration?

Migration and invasiveness are phenotypic characteristics of cells. These activities of cell contribute to physiological processes, such as wound healing or embryogenesis, and they are involved in serious pathological processes, like tumor cell metastasis. Studying migration and invasiveness of the cells is important for understanding the molecular basis of these processes. In the case of cancer, migration, invasiveness and metastatic potential of tumor cells are key factors that determine the clinical prognosis of the patients.

Cell Invasion and Migration Assays at Creative Animodel

Cell invasion and migration assays at Creative Animodel contain more physiologically relevant assays incorporating stromal components such as fibroblasts, endothelial cells, macrophages etc. and also reproduce 3D characteristics of the relevant organ.

In Vitro Scratch Assay

In this assay, a “wound” is created in a cell monolayer and the ability of cells to migrate, and thus, “close” the wound, is assessed by capturing images at different time points (Fig. 1). The major advantages of this technique are its simplicity and relative low cost and the ability to visualize cell movement in real time using time-lapse microscopy. But it's not suitable for studying chemotaxis.


Figure 1. Scratch assay.  (a) represents a confluent culture, (b) the scratch on the surface, and (c) the healing scratch.

• Modified Boyden Chamber Assay

In this assay, cells are added to an upper chamber from where they can invade through a cell-permeable membrane toward an attractant placed in the lower chamber. After a defined period, the cells that have invaded through the membrane into the lower chamber may be counted, making this assay easily quantifiable. Different types of stimuli can be investigated using this system, chemotaxis, haptotaxis, or random migration.


Figure 2. Transwell migration and invasion assays.

• Three-Dimensional Methods of Studying Invasion

The assays described previously oversimplify the complex process of invasion and migration. 3D method provides a microenvironment to simulate the real situation in vivo, which will offer more complete information about cell invasion and migration.

• Organotypic Cultures

In this assay, epithelial cells are grown at an air/liquid interface on collagen matrices populated with fibroblasts (Fig. 3). Such models allow studying of cell interactions, whether in the context of normal epithelial growth and differentiation, or between tumor cells and fibroblasts. Additionally, organotypic cultures can be transplanted into immunocompromised mice to study invasion in vivo.


Figure 3. Organotypic culture. (a) Schematic representation of an organotypic culture. (b) H+E-stained section of basal cell carcinoma organotypic culture. Note the surface epithelium and the invading islands of tumor. (c) A squamous carcinoma organotypic culture immunostained for cytokeratins to highlight the tumor cells.

Creative Animodel has a rich experienced team and complete infrastructure that guarantee our high-quality services and reliable results. We promise to offer the most competitive price and fast turnaround time of cell invasion and migration assays. Wish to cooperate with you in the near future.

Kim, J. B.; et al. Three-dimensional in vitro tissue culture models of breast cancer – a review. Breast Cancer Res. Treat. 2004, 85, 281–291.
Froeling, F. E.; et al. Organotypic culture model of pancreatic cancer demonstrates that stromal cells modulate E-cadherin, beta-catenin and Ezrin expression in tumour cells. Am. J. Pathol. 2009, 175, 636–648.

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