Thursday, 21 April 2022 14:21

TU-Berlin: Metastasis model from the 3D printer to combat neuroblastoma Featured

Scientists at the Technical University of Berlin and colleagues have successfully developed an in vitro approach of a human neuroblastoma in a surrounding human cellular environment and treated it with drugs. They succeeded in treating the metastasis. At the same time, they were able to observe the influence on the surrounding tissue.

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid malignancy in children. The children have a comparatively bad prognosis, and relapses can occur after the stressful chemotherapy. Any models for doing research into a treatment option hardly exist. Animal experiments are not suitable because of the differences in species. In such animal "models", cancer cells from humans are embedded in an environment derived from an animal. The immune system of the animal must be suppressed so that it does not reject the foreign cells. Thus, the immune system factor cannot be investigated as well and false conclusions are drawn, resulting in about 97% failure rate. Therefore, new, and human-specific methods are required. With a treatment, not only the cancer cells have to be killed - but the surrounding tissue should also remain unaffected as far as possible.

Researchers at the Technical University of Berlin, the Charité Berlin, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research as well as the Berlin Institute for Health Research (BIH) have developed a bioink using human cells (kidney cell tissue and a neuroblastoma cell line), alginate and gelatin and printed a three-dimensional model of cancer metastasis in healthy tissue using a bioprinter. Neuroblastoma often arises in the adrenal gland or the spine and also forms metastases.

The metastasis-in-tissue model was treated with two different drugs: Panobinostat, a substance that selectively kills cancer cells by inducing apoptosis but does not affect kidney cells in the therapeutically effective concentration range, and the cytotoxin blasticidin, which causes cell death of both cell types. The effects of these two compounds were correctly identified in the model.

Original publication:
Wu D, Berg J, Arlt B, Röhrs V, Al-Zeer MA, Deubzer HE, Kurreck J. Bioprinted Cancer Model of Neuroblastoma in a Renal Microenvironment as an Efficiently Applicable Drug Testing Platform. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 23;23(1):122. doi: 10.3390/ijms23010122. PMID: 35008547; PMCID: PMC8745467.

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