Scientists are now 3D printing tumors to help them fight cancer

Single cell bacteria - the beginning of life on Earth concept illustration

The idea of 3D printing living cells offers a veritable launchpad of miracle treatments: we could grow new organs or create new skin for burn victims. There's one idea you may not have considered, however -- printing tumors. Researchers are developing a new process for researching cancer treatments that uses 3D printers to create a better in-lab cervical tumor model. Tumor models, used to test treatment methods, are usually grown in a dish, but these traditional "2D tumors" are often a poor analog for the real thing. 3D-printed tumor behave more like naturally cancerous flesh might, growing and reacting to treatments like the real McCoy. A healthier fake tumor means that medical research and drug trials will yield more authentic results. In other words, creating cancer could be the future of treating cancer. Researchers are still developing the process, but anyone who wants to peek in on their progress can find it in the Institute of Physics' Biofabrication journal.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]