Tumors 3D Printed for Research and Testing
Whenever working with something that has a risk with it, it is important to thoroughly test it as best as possible. For some things though, such testing is limited for many reasons, and among those things are cancers. Researchers at Drexel University however have developed a method of growing cancer tumors that should greatly improve our ability to test drugs on cancers, outside of patients.
To test drugs on cancer cells, samples of the cells are first harvested and then grown in a Petri dish. While this will create more cells to test the drugs on, the two-dimensional nature of the dishes is adopted by the cells as well. In the body though, tumors will have a three-dimensional shape, and that difference can cause disparities between how well a drug performs in the lab and in a patient. What the Drexel researchers developed is a means to 3D print tumors using living cancer cells and a hydrogel. The resulting, printed tumor better resembles actual tumors, so testing on it will provide better data on how drugs will perform in patients.
The research was conducted using Hela cells, which is from a particular form of cervical cancer and are very well understand, which was necessary as the researchers developed their methods. In the future the researchers would like to combine models of other tissues and even vasculature to the printed tumors, to make them even better representations of actual tumors.
Source: Drexel University