CDI Miami | Wednesday July 6, 2016

Can 3D printing brain tumors help tackle cancer?

It has been used to create everything from custom mobile phone cases to clothing.

Now one group of scientists are using 3D printing technology to produce something far more unusual – brain tumors.

Brain tumors are notoriously difficult to study, partly because of where in the body they are found, but also because they tend to behave very differently when grown in the laboratory.

A team of scientists are hoping to reproduce tiny balls of cancerous cells that mimic those seen in patients with brain tumors in the hope of studying them in more detail.

According to Dr. Nicholas Leslie, a reader in bioengineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, said that by printing brain tumor stem cells alongside other types of cells that are found around, it may be possible to recreate them far more accurately in the laboratory.

Another colleague, Dr. Will Shu, said that printing 3D models of brain tumors would allow scientists to study brain tumors in more detail and also help to reduce the use of animals in such research.