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Bioprinting a Novel Glioblastoma Tumor Model using a Fibrin-based Bioink for Drug Screening

By Maisa Tamanna

A revolutionary new approach to examine the intricate structure and physiology of tumors in humans is to use 3D bioprinting, which is a powerful tool that generates tissue models which closely mirrors the tumor structure in humans. This realm of 3D bioprinting and its applications are closely explored in a research study published in Materials Today Chemistry in June 2019 led by Dr. Christopher Lee and colleagues who are scientists from the University of Victoria in British Columbia. In the study, they demonstrated a new technique of using 3D bioprinting technology to bioprint a model of the glioblastoma tumor using bioink derived from the protein fibrin. The objective of the study was to create a 3D bioprinted model of glioblastoma, which is a detrimental brain cancer that aggressively proliferates into healthy brain tissues and is consequently difficult to cure due to its invasiveness and low response to chemotherapy treatments.

The scientists initiated the study by using glioblastoma stem cells derived from patients and combined the cells with a fibrin-based bioink to generate an ink that is printable. The bioink was then used to print the glioblastoma tumor model using a standard 3D bioprinter, called Aspect Biosystems RX1. The 3D printed tumor was later cultured in vitro and examined for tissue organization, cell viability, as well as glioblastoma markers.

The result of the research study indicates that the 3D printed glioblastoma tumor model closely mirrors the physiology and structure of human tumors as well as expresses a comparable invasive behavior and drug resistance as previously observed in patient-derived tumors. Hence, the research study reinforces the feasibility of using 3D bioprinting technology to generate a realistic and practical glioblastoma tumor model which can be used to follow the trajectory of targeted drugs, as well as understand the pathway of personalized medicine applications. The research also indicated the practicality of using fibrin-based bioink for developing various other forms of 3D bioprinted models of human tissues.

Overall, this research paper published in Materials Today Chemistry successfully demonstrated viable solutions to treat glioblastoma by using 3D bioprinting and developing personalized drug treatments. Using fibrin-based bioink in generating a 3D bioprinted model has shown great potential in mirroring the physiology of human tissues and thus giving rise to novel breakthroughs in cancer research and implementing prospective cures.

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