3D Printing Brain Tumors to Improve Treatments

Summary: Researchers have developed a new 3D printing technique which can produce brain tumor cells that continue to grow rapidly and mimic the growth of real glioma tumors.

Source: Heriot-Watt University.

Scientists at Heriot-Watt plan to 3D print tumour-like constructs to better understand the biology of malignant brain tumours that kill around 5,000 people each year in the UK.

Dr Nicholas Leslie, a tumour biologist at the University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering is working with Dr Will Shu, a 3D printing expert to carry out the pioneering work, which has just been funded by The Brain Tumour Charity.

Researchers have already developed several types of “brain tumour in a laboratory” to study brain tumours and test drugs to treat them, including taking brain tumour stem cells from patients. However, if they are grown in the lab, they behave very differently from the way they do in reality.

Now the Heriot-Watt team will 3D print brain tumour (glioma) stem cells and other types of cells isolated from patients’ brain tumours, to recreate tumour-like constructs which should give much closer results to human tumours and reduce the current dependence on animal testing.

Image shows a brain tumor.

The Heriot-Watt team will 3D print brain tumour (glioma) stem cells and other types of cells isolated from patients’ brain tumours. NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the Heriot-Watt press release.

Dr Nicholas Leslie said “We have developed a novel 3D printing technique to print brain tumour cells for the first time, cells that continue to grow rapidly, more closely mimicking the growth of these aggressive tumours in real life.

“Our goal is that this should provide a new way of testing drugs to treat brain tumours, leading to new treatments and speeding up the process by which new drugs become available to patients.”

About this brain cancer research article

Funding: The study is funded by The Brain Tumour Charity.

Source: Matthanja Muller – Heriot-Watt University
Image Source: This NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the Heriot-Watt press release.
Original Research: We will report on the findings when they are published.

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
Heriot-Watt University. “3D Printing Brain Tumors to Improve Treatments.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 25 May 2016.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/3d-printing-glioma-cancer-4298/>.
Heriot-Watt University. (2016, May 25). 3D Printing Brain Tumors to Improve Treatments. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved May 25, 2016 from http://neurosciencenews.com/3d-printing-glioma-cancer-4298/
Heriot-Watt University. “3D Printing Brain Tumors to Improve Treatments.” http://neurosciencenews.com/3d-printing-glioma-cancer-4298/ (accessed May 25, 2016).
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