3D-written model improves understanding of cancer

Purdue researchers, led by Luis Solorio, have developed a 3D-written model that created a lifelike cancer environment to better predict how drugs interact with metastasized cells. Findings were published in Advanced Materials.

Solorio, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and a team of researchers proposed 3D writing instead of 3D printing in developing a more lifelike cancer environment. The 3D jet-writer produces polymer microtissues as they are shaped in the body, but on a smaller scale, to print an environment with pores large enough for cells to enter the polymer structure. The structure then forms a scaffold that facilitates cell activity as in the body.

So far, researchers have used the 3D jet-writer device to create a structure capable of drawing in cancer cells in mice where cancer would not normally develop, showing the device's ability to create a cancer environment.

"Ideally, we could use our system as an unbiased drug screening platform where we could screen thousands of compounds, hopefully get data within a week, and get it back to a clinician so that it's all within a relevant time frame," Solorio said.