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The use of decellularised animal tissue to study disseminating cancer cells

Grey, James F. E.; Campbell-Ritchie, Alastair; Everitt, Nicola M.; Fezovich, Alexander J.; Wheatley, Sally P.


James F. E. Grey

Nicola M. Everitt

Alexander J. Fezovich


Since the establishment of cell culture, common practice has been to grow adherent cells in 2D monolayers. Although cells behave completely differently when grown under these artificial conditions, the ease of 2D culturing has meant that this practice still prevails, and adopting conditions that more closely reflect the natural microenvironment has been met with substantial inertia. The alternative, animal models that mimic natural human physiology, are less accessible, strictly regulated and require licences and expensive facilities. Although transition from 2D to 3D cell culturing is gathering momentum, there is a clear need for alternative culturing methods that more closely resemble in vivo conditions. Here, we show that decellularised organs gleaned from discarded animal carcasses are ideal biomimetic scaffolds to support secondary tumour initiation in vitro. Further, we describe how to decellularise tissue and perform basic histochemistry and immunofluorescence procedures for cell and matrix detection. Cancer cell behaviour on this matrix is followed by way of an example. Because integration into the traditional work flow is easy and inexpensive, we hope this article will encourage other researchers to adopt this approach.


Grey, J. F. E., Campbell-Ritchie, A., Everitt, N. M., Fezovich, A. J., & Wheatley, S. P. (2019). The use of decellularised animal tissue to study disseminating cancer cells. Journal of Cell Science, 132(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 20, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 7, 2018
Publication Date Feb 15, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 27, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 27, 2020
Journal Journal of Cell Science
Print ISSN 0021-9533
Electronic ISSN 1477-9137
Publisher Company of Biologists
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 132
Issue 4
Article Number jcs219907
Public URL
Publisher URL


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