3D printing makes it easier to create tissue for medical research
“Cultivating cells in a Petri dish is a time-honoured way of experimenting on biological tissues. But it is not particularly reliable. The problem is that cells often need specific structural support to function correctly. To provide this, tissue engineers are turning to 3d printers to make tiny bespoke scaffolds onto which cells are “seeded”. This encourages those cells to grow and develop. As research into tissue engineering advances, so too do ways of printing the scaffolds. As two recent examples show, this could lead to better drug treatments for diseases such as cancer, and even to complete artificial organs suitable for transplant.
Glioblastoma is an aggressive cancer that begins in the brain, and rapidly evolves resistance to drugs. The best chance of treatment is to cultivate, in the laboratory, samples of an individual’s tumour and then bombard these with different combinations of drugs until an effective mixture is found.”
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