Feb 8, 2017

Better 3D-printed scaffolds help scientists study cancer

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioengineering, biotech/medical


Testing treatments for bone cancer tumors may get easier with new enhancements to sophisticated support structures that mimic their biological environment, according to Rice University scientists.

A team led by Rice bioengineer Antonios Mikos has enhanced its three-dimensional printed scaffold to see how Ewing’s sarcoma (bone cancer) cells respond to stimuli, especially shear stress, the force experienced by tumors as viscous fluid such as blood flows through bone. The researchers determined the structure of a scaffold, natural or not, has a very real effect on how cells express signaling proteins that help cancer grow.

Sarcoma Cells on a scaffold

Sarcoma (bone cancer) cells proliferate on the surface of a 3D printed scaffold created at Rice University. Experiments at Rice showed that the size of pores in the scaffold, which mimics the extracellular matrix in bone, and the pores’ orientation make a difference in how cells proliferate in the presence of a flowing fluid, like blood. (Image: Mikos Research Group/Rice University)

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