3D bioprinted tissue-like cores for cancer diagnostics

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According to the WHO, by 2025 more than 19 million new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed worldwide. Most cases are confirmed by the histopathological analysis of a biopsy. This information is crucial, in addition, to decide the most appropriate treatment. However, histological techniques face some degree of variability that can lead to misinterpretation, resulting in diagnostic errors, inaccurate patient treatment and high costs for the healthcare system. More reliable control samples are required to reduce variability and improve accuracy.


  • To take advantage of 3D bioprinters to create 3D tissue-like structures containing biomarkers that can be used as quality controls in histopathological analysis in companion diagnostics kits.

Problem to Solve

Histopathological cancer diagnostics have to be accurate in order to deliver the correct treatment for each individual patient, but analysis is often imprecise due to assay variability, which causes differences in how biomarker levels are interpreted. For this reason, biomarker assays require quality control samples processed side-by-side with patient samples to verify the diagnosis.

Currently, quality controls come from surplus human tissue with a known expression of the required biomarker. However, these samples are scarce and non-homogeneous, and their use raises ethical issues.


3D bioprinting can create customised 3D structures containing cells embedded in a support matrix. Using this technology, 3DBIOcores containing different cell lines can be produced and used as control samples for several molecular biomarkers related to cancer detection.

Level of Innovation

3DBIOcores will be a real innovation in histopathology analysis. They will be processed side-by-side with the relevant sample, serving as both a positive and a negative control. In addition, they can be mass produced in a standard model, improving efficiency and reducing costs.


Project leader

Mateu Pla

Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya

Project leader

Project Manager

Rosa Miralles

Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya

Head of Technology Transfer Unit

Xavier Rúbies

Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya

Medical Doctor, Head of the Pathological Anatomy Department

Antonio Martínez Pozo

Hospital Clínic de Barcelona

Biomedical Engineer

Mario García Causapié

Hospital Clínic de Barcelona


ICREA Research Professor and Co-founder

Roger Gomis

Inbiomotion SL


Obra social “la Caixa”
Caixa Capital Risc

Scientific Area


Business area


Research center

Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya