Although scientists are still far from finding a way to create printed 3D, fully functional organs, the bioprinting method is gaining more and more interesting applications. Researchers from the University of Minnesota have managed to use this technology to produce structures from cancer cells and then incarnate them for the most optimal treatment method.

The standard method of investigation and management of cancer cells is to grow them on a flat surface, not allowing them to create a spatial structure. Prepared preparations are created from the biological material prepared in this way – the cells are placed between two glass surfaces, which allows them to be observed under a microscope. Unfortunately, numerous studies have shown that cells grown in this environment have different properties than those that were grown in a spatial structure.

What’s more, cells that grow form a 3D structure are much more reliable cells from a living organism than those grown on a flat surface. For this reason, researchers are increasingly turning to bioprinting technology by creating structures from cells or an appropriate structure that will allow them to grow in a controlled manner, similar to that occurring inside organisms.

Testing new drugs and anticancer therapies is a field of study in which the University of Minnesota is a leader. It is no wonder that the academic staff from this university are constantly looking for innovative solutions and methods to improve their research. As one of the project members says, 3D biodegradation offers enormous possibilities from both creating structures with selected geometry and using any biological material – including cancer cells of specific patients.

According to Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, who is responsible for overseeing research using bioprinting technology at the university, drug efficiency experiments on spatial cell models are more reliable. So far, bioprinting is the only technology that gives such freedom in the choice of material, ensuring the precision of the geometry of the produced models.

Magdalena Przychodniak
Editor-in-Chief of the 3D Printing Center. A biomedical engineer following the latest reports on bioprinting and 3D printing in modern medicine.

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