One Step Closer to Creating Organs

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Click here to watch the broadcast: ENGINEERS USE 3D PRINTERS TO MAKE NEW ORGANS, JOINTS

Last week as I was getting ready for school, I turned on the TV to channel 7 in order to drown out the sound of the construction going on outside my house. ABC 7 News was broadcasting a segment about a conference that was held at Berkeley. A group of engineers printed, using a 3D printer, implants that can be inserted into someone and the body will basically regenerate that particular part of the body. The implant is made of light and flexible mesh, and is designed specifically for the patient. Bone can grow into the mesh and, over time, the implant is now not just an implant, but a piece of the body. The implants have been used to successfully provide a total knee replacement for a cat. A dog’s artificial limb has been successfully connected to the dog’s bone, providing the dog with more control and support. These engineers are one step closer to regenerating soft tissue and thus making organs from scratch. It will not be long before no one will have to bear the pain of not receiving a heart or kidney from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). anatomy-254120_640

This is truly amazing to me. Humans are finally coming up with the technology necessary to increase the quality of life of those who suffer from any form of limb loss or dysfunction. Soon humans will be able to print transplant patients organs. If this is not amazing, then I do not know what is. Medicine is advancing at such a rapid pace that I would not be surprised if I woke up tomorrow and someone found a way to cure ALS or cancer and the cure is now available worldwide. With these advances in medicine, a series of bioethical questions also arise. Are humans playing God when they produce organs? Should humans be allowed to change the fate of someone’s life? What will stop humans from producing a “Frankenstein?” I personally believe that it would be irresponsible of humans to try to create a human being from scratch, but I do not have any problem with providing organs to transplant patients who are running out of time. The difference between these two courses of action is one directly defiles the natural process of creating human life, while the other simply prolongs human life and improves the quality of life for the patient. However, there is a limit to how many times human life should be prolonged. I am technically contradicting myself mainly because I am torn. What do you think?

 

Resources:

“Engineers Show off 3D-printed Organs, Joints at Conference in Berkeley.” ABC 7 News. ABC Inc., 5 May 2014. Web. 10 May 2014. <http://abc7news.com/archive/9528419/&gt;.

Geralt. Anatomy Woman Man Face Body Lips Mouth Skin. Digital image. Pixabay. Pixabay, 29 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 May 2014. <http://pixabay.com/en/anatomy-woman-man-face-body-lips-254120/?oq=organs&gt;.

Nemo. Rib Cage Ribs Bones Human Anatomy. Digital image. Pixabay. Pixabay, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 13 May 2014. <http://pixabay.com/en/rib-cage-ribs-bones-human-anatomy-296377/?oq=bone&gt;.

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5 thoughts on “One Step Closer to Creating Organs

  1. Thats interesting. I get to use a 3D printer when I go to Virginia Tech next year. Its interesting how we might be able to “print” organs. This would decrease the need for transplants. And for the live organ donors who are doing it for someone they love, this would minimize the hardship for the donors.

  2. Hey Nicole, this post looks awesome. It’s intriguing that the body can regenerate organs from the implant, and even cooler that you’ll be attending a school so involved with this!

  3. Mike R.

    If such technology should arise, I think that humans should generate their own organs using 3D printing. This is a step forward in human kind and I think this can be used to help with people suffering from lung disses and liver failure.

  4. Absolutely crazy that this will become a reality because I think it will. I want to focus on the positives of such technology. I hope that young people, like you, will continue to learn more and have the tough ethical discussions necessary as such forms of tech do become reality.

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