Updated: May 10, 2021
In medical and biomedical research, animal models are used to develop medicines, vaccines, biological products, and many others. Although widely adopted in preclinical studies, the high failure rates of new drugs in clinical trials indicate that animal models may not be reliable predictors of toxicity nor good models of disease in humans.
3D cell culture presents itself as an alternative for animal models, mainly through 3D bioprinting, which is becoming increasingly promising for the construction of personalized in vitro models of great scientific and medical relevance. With 3D bioprinting, living cells are deposited layer by layer in a biocompatible hydrogel, according to the three-dimensional structure model. Thus, it is possible to create macroscopic structures with microscopic interactions in a microenvironment that mimics human tissues and organs.
3D bioprinting can represent a new research path as an alternative to animal models, being able to reduce costs and increase research development speed, in addition to improving the success rates of new drugs. Some bioprinted models have already been shown to be effective for testing drug toxicity, and recently a new therapy has been submitted to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for approval without using animal tests  by adopting three-dimensional models.