Establishment of 3D-printed tumor models for ex vivo simulation of cancer progression and drug responsiveness

Predicting clinical response to novel and existing anticancer drugs remains a major hurdle for successful cancer treatment. Studies indicate that the tumor ecosystem, resembling an organ-like structure, can limit the predictive power of current therapies that were evaluated solely on tumor cells. The interactions of tumor cells with their adjacent microenvironment are required to promote tumor progression and metastasis, determining drug responsiveness. Such interactions do not form in standard research techniques, where cancer cells grow on 2D plastic dishes. Hence, there is a need to develop new cancer models that better mimic cancer’s physio-pathological conditions. We created in our lab unique 3D model systems including 3D spheroid and 3D-printed tumor models. Our 3D-bioprinted models are based on a library of hydrogels we developed as scaffold for different tumor types, designed according to the mechanical properties of the tissue of origin. Our patient-derived models consist of cells from a biopssy, constructed according to CT/MRI scans, and include functional vessels allowing for patients’ serum to flow when connected to a pump. These models will facilitate reproducible, reliable and rapid results, determining which treatment suits best the specific patient’s tumor, and could be the basis for potentially replacing cell and animal models. 

Internalization of Cy5-labeled nanomedicine (blue) into 3D-tumor spheroids composed of tumor cells (red), endothelial cells (green) and other stromal cells (non-labeled)
3D-printed brain model according to patient's MRI scan

Related publications:

  1. Ferber S*, Tiram G*, et al., (Satchi-Fainaro R), Co-targeting the tumor endothelium and P-selectin-expressing glioblastoma cells leads to a remarkable therapeutic outcome. eLife, 6 pii: e25281 (2017). [PDF] [PubMed]
  2. Neufeld L, Yeini E, Reisman N, et al. (Satchi-Fainaro R), Microengineered perfusable 3D-bioprinted glioblastoma model for in vivo mimicry of tumor microenvironment, Science Advances, 7(34) (2021). [PDF][PubMed]
  3. Neufeld L, Yeini E, Pozzi S, Satchi-Fainaro R. 3D bioprinted cancer models: from basic biology to drug development. Nat Rev Cancer. (2022) doi: 10.1038/s41568-022-00514-w. [PDF][PubMed]

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