3D bioprinting system selected for cancer drug development

The Canadian 3D bioprinting technology company Aspect Biosystems has announced its involvement in a $2.2 million project seeking to find new treatments for cancer.  The company will be collaborating with  Merck and GSK, two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, as well as McGill University’s Goodman Cancer Research Centre in Quebec.

Tamer Mohamed, CEO of Aspect Biosystems, comments: “This public-private partnership is a great example of combining state-of-the-art technology and science with world-class expertise and resources to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapies for patients.”

Aspect Biosystems has developed the Lab-on-a-Printer™ a platform that enables the company to simultaneous deposit multiple biological materials through a microfluidic printhead. The overall goal is to create complex living tissues capable of closely replicating natural human matter.

Aspect’s role in this collaboration is to create “physiologically-relevant 3D tissues containing patient-derived cells.” This 3D printed tissue will be used to test the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs and predict a patient’s response to treatment.

At McGill University, the Goodman Cancer Research Centre will be contributing its bio-bank of patient-matched tumour-associated cells to create programmable, 3D bioprinted tumour models with Aspects technology. Discussing the project Dr. Morag Park, director of the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, explains, “Solid tumour growth is regulated by complex interactions of tumour cells with the tumour microenvironment. This collaboration seeks to create a powerful new platform for studying these critical interactions in a human-relevant environment and, ultimately, accelerate the discovery and development of novel cancer immunotherapies.”

Concluding Aspect’s most recent announcement Anna Van Acker, president and managing director of Merck Canada Inc., commented “As a founding member of the CQDM, Merck Canada is proud to support this investment in R&D with the objective of potentially improving patient response to some treatments for breast cancer patients,” she continues “We believe that collaboration between public sector, academia, patients, NGOs, industry and government will lead to innovations that improve patient outcomes…”


Vialva, Tia, et al. “Aspect Biosystems 3D Bioprinting Selected for $2.2M Cancer Drug Development Project.” 3D Printing Industry, 6 June 2019, 3dprintingindustry.com/news/aspect-biosystems-3d-bioprinting-selected-for-2-2m-cancer-drug-development-project-156617/.