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Scientists Create 3D Model Of a Cancerous Tumor Using 3D Printer

Update Date: Apr 11, 2014 10:02 AM EDT
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A team of researchers in China and the US have successfully created a 3D model of cancerous tumor using a 3D printer. 

The model consists of a scaffold of fibrous proteins coated in cervical cancer cells and provides realistic 3D representation of tumor's environment. According to scientists, the model could help in the discovery of new drugs and shed new light on how tumors develop and grow in the body.

The model is a grid structure coated in Hela cells, 10 mm in width and length and is made from gelatin, alginate and fibrin. These matter recreate the fibrous proteins that make up the extracellular matrix of a tumor.

Researchers, apart from testing if cells remained alive after printing, also examined for the way cells proliferated. The proteins considered in the study were part of the MMP protein family.

According to results, 90 percent of the cancer cells remained viable after the printing process. 

"We have provided a scalable and versatile 3D cancer model that shows a greater resemblance to natural cancer than 2D cultured cancer cells," said the lead author of the research, Professor Wei Sun, from Tsinghua University, China, and Drexel University, USA in the press release.

"With further understanding of these 3D models, we can use them to study the development, invasion, metastasis and treatment of cancer using specific cancer cells from patients. We can also use these models to test the efficacy and safety of new cancer treatment therapies and new cancer drugs."

Further details of the study are published in the journal Biofabrication.  

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