Cancer patients’ cells used in 3D-printed tumours

pharmafile | August 19, 2021 | News story | |   

Researchers from Tel Aviv University have used brain cancer patients’ own cells in a form of 3D printing material to make a model of their tumour to test the efficacy of potential treatments before using them inside the body.

A part of the tumour is extracted from the brain of a patient with glioblastoma – an aggressive cancer with poor prognosis – and used to print a model matching their MRI scans.

The patient’s blood is then pumped through the printed tumour, made with a compound that mimics the brain, followed by a drug or therapeutic treatment.

Lead researcher, Prof Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, said: “We have about two weeks [to] test all the different therapies that we would like to evaluate [on] that specific tumour, and get back with an answer – which treatment is predicted to be the best fit.”

Previous research has been conducted into these bioprinting methods to simulate cancer environments, but the Tel Aviv University researchers say they are the first to print a “viable” tumour.

Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer in adults. It spreads quickly to other parts of the brain, making it difficult to treat. Survival is about 40 per cent in the first year after diagnosis and 17 per cent in the second, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

Researchers have often 3D printed tumour models to plan for surgery. But more recent innovations have focused on bioprinting, which uses live cells as a sort of ink to build up the layers.

Ofra Benny, who leads similar research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the use of a patient’s own cells to develop 3D tumour models could be “a game changer in the field of personalised medicine.

“The more physiological mimicry you create, the better prediction you get in terms of how drug treatments will work on the actual tumour in the patient’s body.”

The research was published on Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

Kat Jenkins

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