Israeli doctors make potential medical breakthrough for brain cancer with 3D printed tumor


Researchers at Tel Aviv University have successfully created an active and viable glioblastoma tumor, an aggressive form of brain cancer, using 3D printing. While it may seem counterproductive, the team believe it will be a new way to treat cancer, as it will allow them to recreate a patient’s tumor, allowing them to find the best treatment. for the patient. This 3D printed tumor could provide a way forward for treating cancer, especially those in the brain, which are often both aggressive and difficult to remove or treat due to their location.

While 3D printing isn’t new to the medical industry, it is a new way to use it to treat disease, especially cancer. Previously, 3D printing was mainly used for prosthetics and orthotics and even bioprinting was more devoted to the reconstruction of organs or bones than tumors. But the reasoning behind using 3D printing has remained the same. While others have focused on making fully personalized treatments for patients, this 3D printing will allow doctors to learn how to better treat their patients by perfectly recreating the tumor using bioprinting, allowing them in turn to determine which treatment will be most effective.

3D printed tumor

Glioblastoma tumors are known to be particularly aggressive and often difficult to treat
(Image credits: Hellerhoff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

How to make a 3D printed tumor?

The tumor study was carried out by a team of researchers led by Professor Ronit Satchi-Fainaro who holds leadership positions at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Sagol School of Neuroscience, Cancer Biology Research Center, Nanomeidcine Laboratory and Morris Kahn 3D-BioPrinting for Cancer Research Initiative, Tel Aviv University. She was helped by doctoral students and researchers from her own laboratory. They chose to make a 3D printed tumor because in previous studies a protein called P-Selectin was found to be responsible for the spread of cancer, but it could not be reproduced on plastic petri dishes. 2D. This lack of reproducibility is apparently the reason why around 90% of all drugs fail in clinical stages, they hoped could be corrected using bioprinting.

Ultimately, they were right because the team was able to perfectly replicate cancer cells as well as those that are part of its microenvironment, making it much more perfect replication for better results. In order to create the models, the researchers took samples directly from the patients. They succeeded in creating a 3D bio-printed tumor that included a complex system of blood vessels like tubes, allowing blood cells and drugs to pass through it like the real tumor. Ultimately, the study was a success as the team showed that the 3D bio-printed model had the potential to be effective. robust and reproducible prediction of the most appropriate treatment for a specific patient.

Professor Satchi-Fainaro concluded: “If we take a sample of a patient’s tissue, along with their extracellular matrix, we can 3D bioprint from that sample 100 small tumors and test many different drugs in various combinations to find the optimal treatment for that. specific tumor. Alternatively, we can test many compounds on a 3D bio-printed tumor and decide which one holds the most promise for further development and investment as a potential drug. But perhaps the most exciting aspect is finding new drug target proteins and genes in cancer cells – a very difficult task when the tumor is inside the brain of a human patient or animal. model. Our innovation gives us unprecedented access, without time limit, to 3D tumors that better mimic the clinical scenario, allowing optimal investigation. You can find out more in the published research HERE or in the video below.

What do you think of this 3D printed tumor? Do you think it will be useful for future cancer research? Let us know what you think in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter, with all the latest 3D printing news delivered straight to your inbox!* Miniature photo credits: NIH Clinical Center via flickr

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