3D printing of biomimetic microstructures for cancer cell migration

Biomed Microdevices. 2014 Feb;16(1):127-32. doi: 10.1007/s10544-013-9812-6.


To understand the physical behavior and migration of cancer cells, a 3D in vitro micro-chip in hydrogel was created using 3D projection printing. The micro-chip has a honeycomb branched structure, aiming to mimic 3D vascular morphology to test, monitor, and analyze differences in the behavior of cancer cells (i.e. HeLa) vs. non-cancerous cell lines (i.e. 10 T1/2). The 3D Projection Printing system can fabricate complex structures in seconds from user-created designs. The fabricated microstructures have three different channel widths of 25, 45, and 120 microns wide to reflect a range of blood vessel diameters. HeLa and 10 T1/2 cells seeded within the micro-chip were then analyzed for morphology and cell migration speed. 10 T1/2 cells exhibited greater changes in morphology due to channel size width than HeLa cells; however, channel width had a limited effect on 10 T1/2 cell migration while HeLa cancer cell migration increased as channel width decreased. This physiologically relevant 3D cancer tissue model has the potential to be a powerful tool for future drug discoveries and cancer migration studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomimetic Materials / chemistry*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
  • Mice
  • Tissue Engineering


  • Hydrogels