Imagine a world where cancer cells could be targeted and eliminated with the precision of a well-trained army. Well, that world is becoming a reality! A groundbreaking three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technology that utilizes the power of immune cells to combat cancer has been developed for the first time.
In a joint effort between the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) and the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), under the Ministry of Science and ICT, scientists have harnessed the potential of natural killer cells (NK cells) for a new form of cancer immunotherapy. This remarkable achievement was recently published in the esteemed journal Biomaterials Research
The 3D print process
So, how does this 3D bioprinting technology work its magic? It all starts with hydrogels, a material that forms a crucial part of the process.
By encapsulating NK cells within these 3D-printed hydrogels,
scientists have found a way to prevent the loss of these vital immune cells and enable a larger number of them to zero in on tumour cells.
The hydrogels develop tiny pores over time, allowing the NK cells to retain their viability and eventually get released. This strategic approach empowers the immune cells to perform their designated task – targeting and eliminating cancer cells effectively.
It’s important to note that NK cells have been used in immunotherapy before, but traditional methods of intravenous injection have proven to be less effective, especially when dealing with solid tumours.
These malignant tumours, characterized by their dense and solid structure, have posed a challenge to the conventional delivery of NK cells, resulting in reduced viability and failure to accurately target the tumours.
However, with the newly developed 3D bioprinting technology, the scenario has changed dramatically. By injecting NK cells into the hydrogel, they can be precisely positioned and cultured in a 3D environment. This optimized approach significantly enhances the cells’ viability and activity, empowering them to take on cancerous tissues with greater efficacy.
With this exciting 3D bioprinting technology, we’re taking a giant leap forward in the fight against cancer. The potential to revolutionize cancer treatment and improve the lives of patients is now within reach.
As scientists continue to explore the possibilities of 3D bioprinting,
we can all look forward to a future where cancer is no longer the formidable foe it once was.