Treating most tumors is a complicated matter. Among the new promising procedures is using the patient’s immunity potential. One possibility is adoptive cell therapy, which deploys the patient’s enhanced immune cells against the tumor. The new device from the 3D printer facilitates the treatment of tumors with the patient’s immune cells, which come directly from cancer.

Immune Cell Therapy

In the case of therapy with tumor-penetrating lymphocytes, the patient’s white blood cells that have penetrated directly into the tumor are used for treatment. Doctors take them, activate them and multiply them. They then return them to the patient’s body. It sounds simple, but this procedure has some complications. Many lymphocytes are depleted and poorly armed when they return to the patient.

Graphic of tumor-infiltrating lymphocites, natural immune cells that invade tumors. Credit: Shana O. Kelley Lab/Northwestern University

According to Shana O. Kelley of Northwestern University in the United States, there is often a problem with how immune cells are harvested from a tumor, which is difficult and yields only a small number of immune cells. Therefore, he and his colleagues invented a new 3D printed device called MATIC (Microfluidic affinity targeting of infiltrating cells), which can track the most suitable immune cells in the tumor and effectively prepare them for treatment.

3D Printed Device Against Tumors

With this device, researchers have succeeded in multiplying, sorting, and eventually extracting hundreds of millions of cells that are very effective in treating tumors. According to the equipment creators, this represents a yield about 400 percent higher than that offered by existing comparable approaches. The advantage of the new technology is that it is easily accessible, cheap, and usable in hospital environments outside of specialized laboratories.

The 3D printable device. Credit: Shana O. Kelley Lab/Northwestern University

Toxic chemicals and foreign substances are involved in most cancer treatment processes. In addition, the harmful side effects of chemotherapy weaken the immune system. Using cells from your own body can eliminate side effects and the risk of refusing treatment., Image credit: Shana O. Kelley Lab/Northwestern University