Nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains a leading cause of cancer-related mortality around the world. Despite significant improvements in technological and scientific approaches, there is still a need for high-throughput 3D in vitro models for NSCLC drug development. It is rare to find multicellular 3D models that use patient-derived xenograft (PDX) cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) in the presence of biocompatible extracellular matrices or hydrogels. Currently, the number of natural and synthetic hydrogels being used as bioprinting materials is limited due to biocompatibility and printability issues.
The researchers at Florida A&M University used the CELLINK INKREDIBLE bioprinter with rheologically optimized sodium-alginate and gelatin (SA-GL) hydrogel in order to 3D print NSCLC PDX and CAF co-cultures. Co-cultures were maintained for 15 days and analyzed for cell viability and specific marker expression.
The study demonstrated that rheological optimization of SA-GL hydrogel enhances printability and viability of NSCLC PDX and CAF co-cultures, allowing for 3D spheroid formation within the printed scaffold. The spheroids exhibited tumor-specific markers (such as vimentin and α-SMA), confirming cellular crosstalk. This model can be used for studying high-throughput drug screening and other preclinical applications.