For biochemical analysis, the fresher the material to be analysed is, the better. With today's advanced cell-culture techniques there are a wealth of opportunities for studying biochemical pathways in fresh and even living tissue. While culture systems strive to replicate complex in vivo micro-environments, there are some aspects that remain technically challenging when using traditional methods. Controlling the ratio between distinct cell types or mimicking the geometric patterns of cell interactions found in native tissue are particular problems. Yet these aspects have been shown to be important in regulating cell–cell interactions, differentiated function and patterns of gene expression.

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