The San Diego-based company Organovo is using their NovoGen MMX 3-D Bioprinter to create accurate representations of human cancer networks. Their research is important because it allows scientists to test out new cancer drugs in their targeted environment.Typically, new cancer medications are first tested on animals, a process that is imperfect at best. What works well in mice for example, does not necessarily work well in humans. New treatments take around ten years of study in test tubes and laboratory mice before they are tested for human safety and effectiveness. After that, only one in five drugs ends up receiving FDA approval. The ability to test cancer drugs on bioprinted human cells could both speed up the process and make the resulting medications more effective."Animal models do not accurately represent human physiology, and the cell lines we use for research can't show us how cells act in a native, three-dimensional architecture," said Joseph Carroll, Ph.D., an associate director at the Knight Cancer Institute. "This technology will give us a much more realistic model for discovering and testing cancer drugs. By studying the molecular mechanics of a tumor at the systems level – how the cells interact with one another and in the cellular microenvironment around them – we can learn how they grow and spread, and we can learn how to stop these processes."