Just as the bench evolved from 2D to 3D, so, too, has it evolved to bridge the gaps inherent in in vitro culturing. That's where 3D bioprinting comes in.
As an advanced approach for recreating environments, 3D bioprinting is a product of modern 3D printing technology and bioinks that usually come from one of three categories: extrusion, inkjet or laser printing. Because 3D bioprinting can produce biological materials at a cellular level, researchers posit that the technology could become ubiquitous for breast cancer microenvironments, even more than body-on-a-chip or synthetic tissue.
Research into 3D bioprinting — including the possibility of hybrid printing or post-crosslinking — is still ongoing. As those investigations continue, it's clear that native and synthetic scaffolding, as well as the permeable supports to hold them, will have an exciting role to play.
And for the thousands of breast cancer patients whose lives might someday depend on those very developments in the lab, these advancements could make all the difference.