A major limitation of the conventional 3D models, including spheroids and organoids, is the lack of native microenvironment where differing cell-cell communications and cellular migrations take place within an extracellular matrix (ECM)-based stroma. Establishment of such native tumor microenvironment is critical to better understand disease progression and for developing robust drug discovery studies.
At CELLINK Bioprinting, we developed a multicellular 3D bioprinted lung cancer assembloid model by incorporating human lung cancer cells (A549), lung adenocarcinoma-associated fibroblasts, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells in a laminin-collagen-rich stromal environment. Using genetically-encoded fluorescent cancer cells, we were able to visualize the migration of cancer cells and merging of cancer spheroids within the matrix. A series of histological analysis and immunofluorescent staining were conducted to verify the morphology and expression of various markers of 3D lung cancer tissue.
The model and analysis protocols described here can easily be adapted for other cancer and healthy tissue models to study not only oncology, but also developmental biology, regenerative medicine, and toxicology, amongst many other applications.