3D Printed Virus To Attack Cancer Cells

Jennifer Hicks | Forbes | October 29, 2014

A genetic engineer at Autodesk ADSK says he can 3D print a virus that one day might be able to attack cancer cells.  Google’s Calico recently opened a $1.5 billion research lab to work with big pharmaceutical companies towards a cure for aging. And now Autodesk, best known for it’s CAD software, has created a Life Sciences lab in San Francisco that’s researching digital biology. Through his research in the Bio/Nano Programmable Matter group at the lab, Andrew Hessel has focused on 3D printing customized viruses that could help scientists create new vaccines or attack the cancer cells customized for each person – not one size fits all.

Hessel considers himself a bio-hacker. And, more specifically, he calls what he does cancer hacking. His new 3D printed virus, synthetic Phi-X174 bacteriophage, a virus that infects the E. coli bacteria and is benign for humans, took two weeks and cost $1,000. Hessel wants to reduce that cost to one dollar.  To put that into perspective, in six years, the cost of DNA sequencing of a genome was $10 million, today it costs $1,000...