Israeli Researchers 3D Bioprint Cancer Tumour; Achieve a Scientific breakthrough

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3D bioprinting of a tumour
Above: Illustration for demonstration of 3D bioprinting of a tumour in a brain microenvironment according to a computed 3D model/Image Source: Tel Aviv University

Researchers at Tel Aviv University revealed that they have been successful in 3D bioprinting an entire active tumour. This is a world-first and marks a scientific breakthrough that will aid the battle against cancer by allowing researchers to develop bespoke cures in a simulated setting.

The Tel Aviv University announced that the researcher 3D bioprinted a first-of-its-kind glioblastoma tumour that mimics a living cancer malignancy. Glioblastoma is notoriously fatal as it accounts for the majority of brain tumours and is highly aggressive. 

According to a statement released by the university, “The breakthrough will enable much faster prediction of best treatments for patients, accelerate the development of new drugs and discovery of new druggable targets. The 3D bioprinted tumour includes “a complex system of blood vessel-like tubes through which blood cells and drugs can flow, simulating a real tumour.”

3D Bioprinted Tumour

Above: First 3D printing of glioblastoma cancer tumour/Video Source: TAUVOD/YouTube

The study was led by Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, who heads the university’s Cancer Research and Nanomedicine Laboratory. Numerous other researchers helped develop the 3D bioprinted tumour, which the university said used samples taken from neurosurgery patients at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital.

Satchi-Fainaro explained that the team decided to use 3D bioprinting after being unable to detect a protein that was helping the cancer cells spread rather than fighting them when using 2D petri dish samples.

3D bioprinting of a tumour
Above: Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Director of the Cancer Biology Research Center and the Head of the Cancer Research and Nanomedicine Laboratory at Tel Aviv University/Image Source: Tel Aviv University

According to Prof. Satchi-Fainaro, “The reason is that cancer, like all tissues, behaves very differently on a plastic surface than it does in the human body. It’s not only the cancer cells. It’s also the cells of the microenvironment in the brain. The physical and mechanical properties of the brain are different from those of other organs.”

She and the research team thus 3D bioprinted tumour to be able to develop the best form of treatment for each patient.

“If we take a sample from a patient’s tissue, together with its extracellular matrix, we can 3D bioprint from this sample 100 tiny tumours and test many different drugs in various combinations to discover the optimal treatment for this specific tumour. Alternately, we can test numerous compounds on a 3D-bioprinted tumour and decide which is most promising for further development and investment as a potential drug. Our innovation gives us unprecedented access, with no time limits, to 3D tumours mimicking better the clinical scenario, enabling optimal investigation.”

– Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, head of Cancer Research and Nanomedicine Laboratory at Tel Aviv University

The team’s research on the benefits of 3D bioprinting was published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Science Advances.

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