Very excited to have been busy working with colleagues on a newish but related venture writing about 3D bioprinting. It fits with the 3Rs that I am working with (repair, replace and regenerate) when it comes to technoscience and the human body. Niki Vermeulen, Tirion Seymour and I wrote an article with Alan FaulknerJones and Will Su (both biomedical engineers) on some of the pros and cons of 3D bioprinting – you can find the article here http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/20/medethics-2015-103347. The blog begins:
Picture this: It is twenty years’ from now and , one of your organs has stopped functioning properly or even at all. You will not need to wait in the long line of the human organ transplant list however. Instead, you can have an organ ready made for you. Bespoke design and ready to use. Who would not want this as a future scenario? While 3D printing is working with inorganic materials, the intention of bioprinting is to work with organic materials (including living cells) to create structures approximating body parts. These new forms of printing, should they be fully realised, will, it is argued, have the same revolutionary and democratising effect as book printing in their applicability to regenerative medicine and industry. Individually designed biological structures or body parts will become as available as text in modern literate societies. Not only would it make organs widely available to those who need them, but 3D printing organs would also resolve entrenched ethical problems ranging from eliminating the market in human organs and avoiding recipient rejection to averting human or non-human animal organs. Therefore, long-term 3D bioprinting has the potential to be a ‘game-changer’, no longer necessitating the need for living or deceased human donation as human organs would be printed on demand.