IBEC and Hospital Clinic move forward in 3D bioprinting with CaixaImpulse funding

IBEC and Hospital Clinic have joined forces in 3D bioprinting applied to cancer diagnostics to win funding from Caixaimpulse.

Core Facilities’ Mateu Pla Roca is the fifth IBEC researcher to win funding from the programme, an initiative of Obra Social “la Caixa” with Caixa Capital Risc, which aims to promote technology transfer in science. His project, “3D bioprinted array tissue-like cores: tissue-like controls for cancer diagnostics” (3DBIOcores), will be carried out in collaboration with Antoni Martinez, head of the histopathology service at Hospital Clinic.

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The project will take advantage of 3D bioprinting to create quality control samples that assure and improve cancer diagnostics. Usually, diagnosis is done by histopathology – the microscopic examination of tissues – and then the biomarkers that are found are quantified. However, histological techniques face some degree of variability that can lead to misinterpretation, and for this reason, such tests require quality control samples to be processed side-by-side with patient samples to verify the final diagnosis.

Currently, hospitals use surplus human tissue which is known to express the required biomarkers as quality control samples, but these are scarce and non-homogeneous, and their use raises ethical issues. Mateu’s project proposes 3DBIOcores as a new source of these essential controls. Taking advantage of 3D bioprinting technology, tissue-like structures containing cell lines with relevant cancer biomarkers will be produced and used as a new source of control samples.

“3DBIOcores will be a real innovation in histopathology analysis, with the potential to have an enormous impact on cancer diagnosis based on the histopathological analysis of biopsies, improving precision in cancer treatment and reducing diagnostic errors,” says Mateu.

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