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3D Bioprinting is and innovative approach to provide a revolutionized personal treatment plan for cancer patients

By Erik Gatenholm Co-Founder of CELLINK

Imagine if there was a way to bring personalized healthcare to an entirely new level - that’s exactly what 3D Bioprinting is offering to the healthcare space. Researchers today are using 3D Bioprinting for an innovative approach to help provide a revolutionized personal treatment plan for cancer patients around the world. This is a significant advancement within the field that offers a new way to not only conduct cancer research but ultimately save lives.

Currently, 97% of new cancer drugs fail in clinical trials. Between 2017 and 2018, oncology composite success rate went from 11.7% to 8% which proves clinical trial activity is still a very high-risk endeavor. (Global Oncology Trends 2019, IQVIA). One of the primary reasons for the high failure rate is due the lack of substantial research and accurate testing models.

The current method of using animal models for preclinical drug testing is not a valid representation of human cancer systems. The use of animal models has reduced to 14% from 2011 as clinical research organizations and pharma companies search for more precise drug testing models for oncology research.

The need to accelerate cancer drug testing is crucial to furthering the progress made within cancer research. While 3D Bioprinting may not be the answer as of right now to cure cancer, it is set to play a vital role in shaping a new approach to personalized treatment plans.

At CELLINK, we have always had a heavy focus on innovating the oncology field and have secured several global partnerships with leading research institutions and life science companies. We recently partnered with the UK based life science company Carcinotech to conduct research for brain and breast cancer. Eventually they will expand their research to lung cancer models as well.

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Carcinotech uses bioinks to print microscopic 3D models of cancer cells which can be used to test potential treatments.

Together with Carcinotech, we will take cancer cells from patients and replicate them to test various cancer treatments on. Carcinotech’s living tumour models will have a 95% accuracy rate.

By using our patent-pending bioinks, we will work together with Carcinotech to aid in development of their proprietary 3D-bioprinted cancer research models that will mimic cancer systems found in the human body on a micro-size chip.

This is done by using bioink, a material that mimics an extracellular matrix environment to support the adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation of living cells. Our goal is to take cells from the cancer patient’s tumor and replicate it using 3D Bioprinting technology to then test various treatments to see what that individual cancer patient’s tumor responds best to.

Carcinotech gets biopsy samples from a global population allowing them to test drugs in an accurate rapid manner and provide effective global treatment options for patients. Carcinotech works with leading pharma companies at the drug discovery, drug testing and pre-clinical phase to offer accurate testing.

While the research is still in the early phases, it has the potential to open doors to a future where every hospital has a 3D bioprinter to enable personalized medicine at the point of care, preventing patients from needing to go through multiple rounds of chemotherapy or radiation before discovering which treatment is the best fit for their particular genetic makeup and cancer type.

Together, our vision is to be at the forefront of cancer drug testing and provide personalized testing to people suffering from cancer to increase their treatment options and chance of survival.