Using 3D printing to treat breast cancer

Dr Morag Park

We’ve all heard about the marvels of 3D printing. This amazing technology can replicate everything from a pizza to a sculpture to a building. But did you know you can also 3D print a tumour?

Dr Morag Park, one of the world’s most influential breast cancer researchers, is doing just that and, in the process, changing the way breast cancer is studied and treated.

Through CCS-funding you made possible, Dr Park and her team are currently researching an aggressive and difficult-to-treat type of cancer called triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).

“We still don’t understand triple negative breast cancer very well,” says Dr Park. “Some triple negative breast cancers are very resistant to standard treatments and that’s where we are turning our attention.”

Park and her team are working to address this knowledge gap by pairing 3D printing technology with living cancer cells from people with TNBC. Amazingly, they are recreating 3D TNBC tumours in the lab that will let them study and test drugs in conditions that mirror those of a patient.

“We hope to gain an understanding of why these tumours don’t respond to immunotherapies and other treatments and what are some potential new treatments for these women,” says Dr Park.

As she works toward answering these questions — and pushing the envelope of what is possible with 3D printing — Dr Park is thankful for your ongoing support.

We are so appreciative of everyone who contributes money for researchers like us,” says Dr Park. “You are helping us turn cancer into a word that people no longer run away from.”