Three dimensional (3D) bioprinting of multiple cell types within optimised extracellular matrices has the potential to more closely model the 3D environment of human physiology and disease than current alternatives. In this study, we used a multi-nozzle extrusion bioprinter to establish models of glioblastoma made up of cancer and stromal cells printed within matrices comprised of alginate modified with RGDS cell adhesion peptides, hyaluronic acid and collagen-1. Methods were developed using U87MG glioblastoma cells and MM6 monocyte/macrophages, whilst more disease relevant constructs contained glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs), co-printed with glioma associated stromal cells (GASCs) and microglia. Printing parameters were optimised to promote cell-cell interaction, avoiding the 'caging in' of cells due to overly dense cross-linking. Such printing had a negligible effect on cell viability, and cells retained robust metabolic activity and proliferation. Alginate gels allowed the rapid recovery of printed cell protein and RNA, and fluorescent reporters provided analysis of protein kinase activation at the single cell level within printed constructs. GSCs showed more resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs in 3D printed tumour constructs compared to 2D monolayer cultures, reflecting the clinical situation. In summary, a novel 3D bioprinting strategy is developed which allows control over the spatial organisation of tumour constructs for pre-clinical drug sensitivity testing and studies of the tumour microenvironment.
Keywords: 3D bioprinting; Cancer model; Drug sensitivity; Glioblastoma; Tumour microenvironment.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.