CSC-based malignant melanoma model by 3D-bioprinting

Novel tri-layered malignant melanoma 3D-bioprinted model based on cancer stem cells

Novel tri-layered malignant melanoma 3D-bioprinted model based on cancer stem cells


A new tri-layered malignant melanoma 3D model has been developed by 3D bioprinting and based on cancer stem cells. This model reproduces the heterogeneity and complexity of the tumor microenvironment and would comprise an alternative to animal testing and clinical trials for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment studies.


Tumor microenvironment is crucial for understanding native tumor behaviour. It consists of a complex and dynamic network of cells, blood vessels and secreted factors that continually changes its composition and state. A small fraction of those cells are cancer stem cells (CSC), an essential therapeutic target for cancer research due to its important role in drug resistance and later tumor recurrence.

In comparison to traditional bi-dimensional (2D) models, and tri-dimensional (3D) in vitro models that include a biomimetic extracellular matrix, 3D-bioprinting comprises the most optimal alternative to produce a tumor model, since the heterogeneity and complexity of the microenvironment can be replicated through co-printing of the different components by loading them in different bio inks.

In this invention, a 3D model of CSC-based malignant melanoma (MM) has been developed by using 3D bioprinting. It uses primary MM cells from patients or commercial lines, comprises the three skin layers, and permits its vascularization even in the absence of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

The resulting model is able to replicate the heterogeneity and treatment response of the tumor, which will allow identifying drug-resistant tumors, discover drugs against MM, and optimize current treatments towards a more reliable and successful precision and personalized medicine, while also involving important savings in time and resources compared to the use of animal testing and clinical assays.