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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter September 7, 2017

Bioprinting of three dimensional tumor models: a preliminary study using a low cost 3D printer

  • Christian Polley EMAIL logo , Robert Mau , Clemens Lieberwirth , Jan Stenzel , Brigitte Vollmar and Hermann Seitz


The deep understanding of cancer and tumor genesis, as well as the development of new therapy strategies still remains one of the emerging challenges in modern medicine. To meet these challenges it seems to be absolutely necessary to overcome the drawbacks of the established 2D in vitro models. Especially the missing microenvironment of the tumor, which means the absence of stroma and immune cells, results in a missing cell-cell and cell-stroma interaction as well as disrupted functional communication pathways. Modern 3D culture systems and 3D printing or rather bioprinting technologies attempt to solve this issue and aim to closely mimic natural tumor microenvironment. In this preliminary work we are going to present the first steps of establishing an artificial 3D tumor model utilising a low cost 3D printer. Therefore the printer had been modified with an open-source syringe pump to become a functional bioprinter using viscosity modulated alginate hydrogel. In the first attempts L929 mouse fibroblasts, which are an integral component of natural stroma, had been incorporated into the hydrogel matrix and printed into scaffolds. Subsequent to the printing process the scaffolds got ionically crosslinked with a 5% w/v aqueous solution of CaCl2 to become mechanically stable. After three days of cultivation viability testing had been performed by utilising FDG staining and PET CT to obtain a volumetric viability measurement. The viability imaging showed vital cells homogeneously distributed in the scaffold and therefore stands as an evidence for a working low cost bioprinting process and a successful first step for the development of an artificial 3D tumor model.

Published Online: 2017-09-07

©2017 Christian Polley et al., published by De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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