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posted by requerdanos on Sunday August 22 2021, @09:15PM   Printer-friendly
from the technomedicine-at-work dept.

Cancer patients' own cells used in 3D printed tumours to test treatments:

TEL AVIV, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Researchers have used brain cancer patients' own cells in a form of 3D printing material to make a model of their tumour to test the efficacy of potential treatments before using them for real inside the body.

The scientists extract "a chunk" of the tumour from the brain of a patient with glioblastoma [...] and use it to print a model matching their MRI scans, said Professor Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, who led the research at Tel Aviv University.

The patient's blood is then pumped through the printed tumour, made with a compound that mimics the brain, followed by a drug or therapeutic treatment.

While previous research has used such "bioprinting" to simulate cancer environments, the Tel Aviv University researchers say they are the first to print a "viable" tumour.

[...] A treatment is deemed promising if the printed tumour shrinks or if it lowers metabolic activity against control groups.

The article has photos and a short video of the process.

Also at: Nerdist.

Journal Reference:
Lena Neufeld, Eilam Yeini, Noa Reisman, et al. Microengineered perfusable 3D-bioprinted glioblastoma model for in vivo mimicry of tumor microenvironment [open], Science Advances (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abi9119)


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @11:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @11:06PM (#1169703)

    But I'm saving it for tomorrow when everyone has mod points again.

  • (Score: 1) by dcollins55 on Monday August 23 2021, @12:24AM (11 children)

    by dcollins55 (15202) on Monday August 23 2021, @12:24AM (#1169717)

    First, "3d printing" cells is nothing new. It's a mechanism similar to an ink-jet that spits out cells from a solution. Except it's not really called "3d printing" - the term is bioprinting. It's mostly been researched for printing organs. It is a field that I believe was originally formed from a treatment of burn patients, where they would culture cells and spray them on the burn instead of doing a skin graft.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_bioprinting [wikipedia.org]

    >first to print a "viable" tumour

    This is one of those things where we slap "digital" or "computer" in front of a common thing, and pretend it's new. "Computer Graphics" as opposed to "Graphics". The "printer" here or the tablet in graphics, is just another tool to be used in an existing well-defined field. You know what we did to get a "viable tumor" before the Israelis 3d printed them? Yeah, we just grew it in a dish from the extracted tumor cells.

    We've tested treatments on cancer cells grown in a petri dish before. This new approach is not treatment, nor is it related to a treatment. It does let you make a test tumor in a specific shape. You know what's great at simulating the actual shape of the tumor inside the body? Letting it grow on its own. Something it does inside the body, as well as outside.

    >A treatment is deemed promising if the printed tumour shrinks or if it lowers metabolic activity against control groups.
    Really? Well no shit, that's a good thing to know. I see they were very successful in adding the word "printed" to the well-established definition of "treatment" while making something completely useless.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @03:21AM (10 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @03:21AM (#1169749)

      I know the Reuters article is a bit simplistic, but we aren't all cranky experts (except for me, of course, an engineer who models patient-specific anatomy at a research hospital for complex procedure planning and treatment research). The innovation here is mimicing the patient's 3d tumor volume and vascular network rather than the petri dish method you describe which has proven inadequate at modeling the tumor's interaction with the vasculature and surrounding structures. I recently lost a family member to glioblastoma and I can tell you that the actual shape and position of a tumor is inextricably linked to the patient's condition and the treatment plan.

      Do we know whether this tumor model will lead to better understanding of GBM, and maybe better outcomes? Of course we don't. Has the shit we've been doing in the past had much of an effect on outcomes for GBM patients? Hell no it hasn't. So, as somebody with both research expertise and a personal stake in this field, i'm here to tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @05:46AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @05:46AM (#1169761)

        Anyone with any experience doing this sort of work with tumors knows that in vitro testing like they described is notorious for inaccuracy. Depending on your technique you have bad specificity and false positives overpower your ability to detect true positives OR you get the opposite problem where you have bad sensitivity and the false negatives overpower your ability to detect true negatives.

        While I wish the results in the actual paper were better, they aren't terrible. It definitely presents a technique worth looking at seriously and the indications are that they are doing just that. And given that the prognosis at 5 years is less than 10% survival and less than 1% at 10 years, I'll take what little improvements we can get.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @05:51AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @05:51AM (#1169762)

          I should be a bit more clear "they" means the thread starter, not the journal article authors.

      • (Score: 1) by dcollins55 on Monday August 23 2021, @06:57AM (7 children)

        by dcollins55 (15202) on Monday August 23 2021, @06:57AM (#1169768)

        Alright, I'll bite and assume I don't know much about this (I don't) and you do.

        >mimicing the patient's 3d tumor volume and vascular network
        This is for brain tumors. A vascular network carries blood. There is no blood in the brain, because of this thing, you know, called the blood-brain barrier.

        What vascular network for a brain tumor are you trying to duplicate with 3d printing, when according to my (very basic) understanding, the brain doesn't have any blood vessels?

        > i'm here to tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about
        I already told you I have little idea what I'm talking about. Now if only the little knowledge I do have didn't completely contradict the very basis of your claim, I'd be sure you do know what you are talking about.

        You see, you may be an engineer, you may model patient anatomy. That knowledge may make you feel like an expert on brain tumors. Now, if you actually were who you say you were, you'd know people who do brain tumors are not generalists like you claim to be. In addition, a real generalist in your field would never try to talk about brain tumors, because they'd know they don't know much about them.

        Sorry buddy, I'm calling bullshit on you here.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @08:35AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @08:35AM (#1169787)

          Different AC, but the brain does have blood vessels. Lots of them, in fact, in order to keep it alive given its gigantic energy and oxygen requirements. In fact, some of the most serious diseases (stroke and aneurysms) arise from when they don't do their job properly. But here is a major hint as to why the vascular system in the brain is especially important to these types of cancer, the neoplasms in question are called: glioblastoma. Glioblasts are blast cells that differentiate into some of the glial cells that make up the support system for the brain. Some of the ones that they differentiate into (astrocytes), among other things, form the blood brain barrier, direct blood flow through the brain, and are supposed to protect the delicate neurons from the "outside" environment. Hence, they are located right next to those blood vessels in the brain and often spread along them so they can better consume all the bounty they bring.

          Maybe take 10 minutes to look things up next time before calling bullshit, especially when you acknowledge you are speaking out of ignorance. It usually helps when you are trying not to make yourself look like an idiot.

          • (Score: 1) by dcollins55 on Monday August 23 2021, @09:42AM

            by dcollins55 (15202) on Monday August 23 2021, @09:42AM (#1169803)

            Yes, I would be the idiot if I spent 10 minutes to look something up before posting a comment on a forum with like a hundred users. I guess the cost of looking like an idiot to a complete loser, is not being a complete loser.

            Or, you know, like a normal person, while having a discussion, I acknowledge I don't know much and ask the other person talking to me to clarify. And yes, it's completely appropriate to call bullshit, when a generalist in "engineer in organ modeling" - whatever that means, starts talking about tumors in the brain. Because you know, he's talking like he's a specialist on tumors in the brain as well as cancer. But he's not, because people who work on the brain, and people who do cancer, are their own specialties.

            If a racecar driver starts going on like he's a mechanic, making claims like "I am an expert at electrical engineering because alternators and batteries are parts of a car I drive" - and they don't explain those claims, like at all, then yeah - it sounds like bullshit, so I'm going to say it sounds like bullshit, and it's up to the self-proclaimed "oncologist brain engineer" to explain himself.

            But maybe you take 10 minutes to look things up. Is that a way you have a conversation? You must be fun at parties. And, if I may say, quite the loser. But not an idiot, just have nothing better to do with your time. Now the question is, does someone who chooses to be a loser - is he an idiot for picking a life like that for himself?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @12:43PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @12:43PM (#1169834)

          I love how "the little knowledge" you do have was completely wrong, and used as the basis for deciding I don't know what I'm talking about. I could spend a long time trying to explain my job to you, or the biochemical and structural mechanisms driving tumor vascularization in the brain, but I get the feeling that it won't matter. you've got your head so far up your ass it's barely getting any bloodflow at all.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @09:57PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @09:57PM (#1170025)

            I, on the other hand, found the idea that someone whose job requires detailed knowledge of both gross anatomy and histology and had adequate opportunity and motivation to apply that expertise to the topic in question was uninformed compared to the guy that misunderstood sixth grade science class to be highly hilarious. Talk about being out of you depth. Sheesh.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @10:02PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @10:02PM (#1170028)

            And thanks for what you do. I know the people in the back don't always get the credit they deserve, but I'd be sunk without my MSEs. I really should add you all to my rotating gratitude list, if you aren't on it already.

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday August 23 2021, @02:05PM (1 child)

          by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Monday August 23 2021, @02:05PM (#1169864) Homepage
          If the brain had no blood vessels, there's be no need for a blood-brain barrier. In fact, you can't separate the "BBB" and the "blood vessels" as concepts, as the endothelium is common to both.
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24 2021, @07:19AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24 2021, @07:19AM (#1170190)

            If the brain had no blood vessels, there'd be no need for much of anything. /s

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Monday August 23 2021, @12:39AM (1 child)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Monday August 23 2021, @12:39AM (#1169722) Journal

    Of all the cancers, brain cancer is one of the worst. Almost always fatal. And fast, with victims seldom lasting even 1 year.

    Been 20 years since a friend of mine died of brain cancer, at the age of 36.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday August 23 2021, @02:14PM

      by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Monday August 23 2021, @02:14PM (#1169867) Homepage
      Yup, I lost my favourite grandparent to brain cancer. Fortunately, she'd lived a productive and mostly healthy life before that, and you've got to go of something. Almost annoyingly, she seemed to make a very good recovery after the surgery, so for a while we were hopeful. And then the rug was pulled out from under our feet.

      I think with the current speed of medical advances - with way more tools in our toolbox than we've ever had before - we might eventually crack some of the most common cancers. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but some time this century. As long as those bloody microbiologists can resist the temptation to do Gain of Function research on HeLa.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
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