Israeli scientists 3D-Bioprint tumour, enable rapid treatment

August 19, 2021 by TPS
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Researchers at Tel Aviv University declared a scientific breakthrough when they printed an entire active and viable glioblastoma tumour using a 3D printer.

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.

The new method will enable much faster prediction of best treatments for patients, accelerate the development of new drugs and discovery of new druggable targets.

The study was led by Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, and the new technology was developed by PhD student Lena Neufeld, together with other researchers at Satchi-Fainaro’s laboratory.

The 3D-bioprinted models are based on samples from patients, taken directly from operating rooms at the Neurosurgery Department of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

Glioblastoma cells are usually grown on 2D plastic Petri dishes in a lab. However, cancer, like all tissues, behaves very differently on a plastic surface than it does in the human body. Approximately 90% of all experimental drugs fail at the clinical stages because the success achieved in the lab is not reproduced in patients.

To address this problem, the Israeli research team created the first 3D-bioprinted model of a glioblastoma tumour, which includes 3D cancer tissue and functional blood vessels.

Each model is printed in a bioreactor designed in the lab, using a hydrogel sampled and reproduced from the extracellular matrix taken from the patient, thereby simulating the tissue itself.

After successfully printing the 3D tumour, Prof. Satchi-Fainaro and her colleagues demonstrated that unlike cancer cells growing on Petri dishes, the 3D-bioprinted model has the potential to be effective for rapid, robust, and reproducible prediction of the most suitable treatment for a specific patient.

According to Prof. Satchi-Fainaro, this innovative approach will also enable the development of new drugs, as well as the discovery of new drug targets – at a much faster rate than today.

Hopefully, in the future, this technology will facilitate personalized medicine for patients.

“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. But perhaps the most exciting aspect is finding novel druggable target proteins and genes in cancer cells – a very difficult task when the tumour is inside the brain of a human patient or model animal. Our innovation gives us unprecedented access, with no time limits, to 3D tumours mimicking better the clinical scenario, enabling optimal investigation,” she said.


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