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Hacking 3D Printed Cancer-Fighting Viruses

"I really wasn't expected to be called a Biohacker but I don't mind"

Autodesk Research Hacking 3d Printed Cancer Fighting Viruses

What a great way to start a presentation! Andrew Hessel is part of the Bio/Nano/Programmable Matter group at Autodesk Research and that is how he started his fascinating presentation at the WIRED2014 Conference. In his presentation, Andrew talks about how powerful cells are and how they form networks similar to LAN's (our organs and tissues) and WAN's (our bodies).

Human Cell Autodesk Research Wired
A human cell is the most powerful and complex machine in the known universe. It runs on sugar and lasts a long time.
Chromosomes Autodesk Research Wired
This is what the program looks like for our bio computers

From this foundation he goes on to share how the maker movement is coming to biology. Andrew's ultimate goal with his work is to bring down the price of drug discovery and make more medicine available to all.

Autodesk Makerspace Pier 9
Autodesk's Makerspace at Pier 9 in San Francisco
Autodesk Life Sciences Laboratory
Autodesk has a Life Sciences laboratory as part of the Makerspace at Pier 9
Autodesk Research Bio and DNA Printers
One can now 3D print cells and DNA

With the landscape set, Andrew begins to talk about fighting cancer with 3D printed viruses. You can create a really weak virus that our body can fight yet at the same time this virus can hack the cancer cells, using the cancer cells to create more viruses to kill the other cancer cells. We call these oncolytic viruses.

Autodesk Research Bioprinting
A synthetic virus designed on a computer and printed in the lab

Now that he has created a virus he will be working on a more specific cancer-fighting virus. You can watch the full video below and learn more about this important work.

At the beginning of the video, Andrew shows an interactive tool created by the Health Sciences group at the University of Utah to illustrate the scale at which he works. It is available to the public to learn from and explore.   



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