Wednesday, 19 December 2018 09:25

Peter Mac gets 3-D printing platform to speed up cancer research

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The RASTRUM 3-D printer. The RASTRUM 3-D printer. Supplied

A 3-D bio-printing platform known as RASTRUM has been installed at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and will enable scientists to print three-dimensional tissues that mimic the human body, at unprecedented scale and speed.

The system will be installed at the Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics which is the first lab to have such a platform.

RASTRUM was developed in collaboration with UNSW professors Justin Gooding and Maria Kavallaris, while the printer itself was built by engineers from the private firm Inventia Life Science.

A statement from Inventia said RASTRUM would replace a manual process and increase the possibility of research and drug development in realistic models.

RASTRUM is claimed to different from other bio-printers in that it used what is called "drop-on-demand" technology, similar to that used in an inkjet printer. It has been jointly funded by private capital and federal money.

rastrum2

The RASTRUM platform at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

It is claimed to be able to produce 1000 three-dimensional cell models in less than six hours, something that would consumer than 50 hours were it done manually.

“This is a novel and exciting platform for cancer research,” said Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson, who is head of the VCFG at Peter Mac.

“The ability to create realistic three-dimensional cell models through an automated and scalable process will vastly accelerate our research progress and advance therapeutic target discovery.

“We have a very clear vision for the clinical applications of this technology."

Inventia chief executive Dr Julio Ribeiro said: “Our collaboration with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre provides a powerful opportunity to drive progress in cancer research.

“This installation will seriously accelerate the creation of three-dimensional tissues allowing researchers high throughput, to drive discovery-based cancer research.

“This is a unique collaboration of Australian science, research and innovation and I wish to thank Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for sharing our vision.”

Inventia recently won Series A investment support, raising $10 million from Scott Farquhar’s investment firm, Skip Capital, Luca Belgiorno-Nettis through Prisma, Blackbird, AirTree Ventures, and the CSIRO venture arm, Main Sequence Ventures.

Photos: courtesy Inventia Life Science

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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