In the realm of cancer research and treatment, the pursuit of more accurate and effective preclinical models is relentless. Traditional models, including animal testing and organoid systems, have been indispensable but flawed, marked by limitations in reproducibility, physiological relevance, and the availability of human tissues. These shortcomings hamper the development of new therapeutics and the personalization of cancer treatments.

Addressing these challenges, Carcinotech, led by founder and CEO Ishani Malhotra, has pioneered a transformative approach: the creation of 3D-printed tumors. This innovative technology offers a closer mimicry of human biopsies than ever before, incorporating a comprehensive array of cells and, imminently, tumor vasculature. Such advancements promise to elevate preclinical research by enabling more assays to be conducted rapidly, facilitating the early dismissal of ineffective therapeutic candidates.

Carcinotech’s portfolio spans 3D-printed tumors for various cancers, including lung, brain, breast, colorectal, and ovarian, with plans to extend into pediatric cancer models—a particularly challenging area due to the scarcity of samples. The introduction of vascularized 3D-printed tumors marks a significant leap forward, promising models that more faithfully replicate the patient’s tissue, including blood vessels and tumor microenvironment.

The implications for cancer treatment are profound. 3D-printed tumors could dramatically accelerate the preclinical testing phase, reducing reliance on animal models and enabling more focused efficacy studies. This shift is not only anticipated to conserve capital but also to shorten drug development timelines significantly. For instance, replacing mouse models with 3D-printed tumors could reduce the duration of efficacy studies from seven years to just two, offering immense cost savings.

Carcinotech’s innovations are recognized as superior to organoids in complexity and consistency, harboring around 16 to 17 different cell types within a single printed tumor. This complexity ensures more consistent results across assays and allows for the generation of hundreds of samples from a single patient biopsy.

The company’s success has attracted partnerships and funding, facilitating expansion beyond its UK and European bases toward the global market, with a particular focus on entering the U.S. market. This expansion is bolstered by a recent $5.3 million funding round, indicating strong investor confidence in Carcinotech’s technology and its potential to revolutionize cancer treatment.

The emergence of 3D-printed tumors presents a paradigm shift in cancer research, offering new opportunities for personalized treatment and accelerating the path to discovering effective therapeutics. By overcoming the limitations of traditional models, Carcinotech’s technology paves the way for more accurate, efficient, and humane approaches to cancer treatment, highlighting the transformative power of printing technology in medical research.

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