Scientific Reports has published an article talking about the use of 3D bioprinting of cancer cell lines to perform drug testing. Below are some highlights from the article:

Conventional evaluation on cancer drug development

  • Cancer drug development is usually examined in traditional two-dimensional (2D) cell culture platforms.
  • Traditional 2D cultured cancer cells cannot imitate the complexity and heterogeneity of in-vivo tumor.

Hydrogel-based 3D scaffolds

  • To overcome the cons in traditional 2D cell culture platforms, 3D cell culture platforms are being currently developed.

  • Hydrogel-based 3D scaffolds are gaining attention because of their cell encapsulation potential and their characteristics of mimicking native extracellular matrix (ECM).

  • Bioprinting techniques are of interest to tissue engineers because of their ability to construct complex structures.

Use bioink to screen anti-cancer drugs

  • In collaboration with TheWell Bioscience, Gebeyehu, and his colleagues tested a series of hydrogels to develop a bioink that mimics the in-vivo tumor microenvironment, shows good printability, rheological characteristics, and biocompatibility.
  • They observed that Ink H4 and RGD modified Ink H4-RGD from TheWell Bioscience displayed excellent rheological properties.
      • Both bio-inks can be crosslinked with cell culture medium, which aids good cell growth and scaffold stability
      • Ink H4-RGD demonstrated printability between 20 and 37 °C
      • The scaffolds stayed stable for 15 days at a temperature of 37 °C
      • 3D printed non-small-cell lung cancer patient-derived xenograft exhibited speedy spheroid growth of size
      • Tumour microenvironment formation within 7 days
  • The results of flow property, shape fidelity, scaffold stability, and biocompatibility of H4-RGD recommend that Ink H4-RGD hydrogel could be considered for high throughput screening of various anti-cancer drugs.


1. Gebeyehu, Aragaw, et al. Polysaccharide Hydrogel Based 3D Printed Tumor Models for Chemotherapeutic Drug Screening. Sci Rep, vol. 11, no. 372, 11 Jan. 2021, http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79325-8.

2. Research Highlights: 3D Printed Tumor Spheroids for Disease Modeling and Chemotherapeutic Drug Screening. TheWell Bioscience, Jun 2021, https://www.thewellbio.com/3d-printed-tumor-spheroids-disease-modeling-chemotherapeutic-drug-screening/

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