3D bioprinting has another significant achievement: the deadliest brain tumour was successfully recreated 3D in a lab. The researchers from Tel Aviv University managed to print a glioblastoma in a medium similar to a brain. The replica contains even blood vessels, successfully recreating the deadly brain tumour. Researchers hope that this will be a major step forward in treating brain tumours.
This particular brain tumour is incredibly dangerous, although it is not very common. The tumour leads to death in almost all cases, and it Is very aggressive to the brain. The treatment is also very harsh on the human body, combining radiotherapy and chemotherapy that are often too overwhelming for patients. Until now, researchers used tissue from tumours that were successfully removed. The cells were analyzed with the help of petri dishes. However, this limited the research process. Therefore 3D bioprinting can lead to significant discoveries regarding the treatment of glioblastoma.
The team also discovered a protein that determines microglia to encourage glioblastoma in the human body. The protein is known as P-selectin and it is produced when a patient gets cancer. “However, we identified the protein in tumours removed during surgery, but not in glioblastoma cells grown on 2D plastic petri dishes in our lab. The reason is that cancer, like all tissues, behaves very differently on a plastic surface than it does in the human body. Approximately 90 percent of all experimental drugs fail at the clinical stage because the success achieved in the lab is not reproduced in patients.”
Researchers believe that 3D printing will offer them “unprecedented access, with no time limits, to 3D tumors mimicking better the clinical scenario, enabling optimal investigation.” It remains to see how this new tool will be used in future research.