My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:
With over 100,000 patients waiting on organ transplant lists, reaching anywhere from 5 to 10 years in wait time, it’s clear that our current healthcare system doesn’t efficiently address the ongoing problem of organ donations to those who need them most. As a result, another problem has arisen over the years known as organ theft, whereby an increasing number of people are being kidnapped and killed in order for their organs to be harvested and sold for a profit.
To address both problems at once, a team of Japanese researchers are developing a new 3D printer that’ll allow them to print body parts and organs at the whim.
“Tsuyoshi Takato, a professor at the University of Tokyo Hospital, said his team had been working to create ‘a next-generation bio 3D printer’, which would build up thin layers of biomaterials to form custom-made parts.” – Phys.org
Led by Dr. Tsuyoshi Takato, a professor at the University of Tokyo Hospital, these researchers are currently in the works in developing a new 3D bio printer that’ll use stem cells, proteins, and other synthetic substances that are similar to the human collagen to create custom-made organs and body parts. The print mimics organ structure by using a Computer Tomography (CT) scan, creating an implant in only a few hours.
Their next step is in addressing the issue of heating from conventional 3D printers, which would damage living cells and proteins. Though they claim they have a few models in the works and will test them out as soon as possible.
As noted before, with the advent of 3D bio printing will come the proliferation of organ donations and open-access, all while abolishing both organ transplant waiting lists and the body-snatching crimes that came as a result. Soon the worry of needing an organ transplant will be null, as patients will simply need to provide stem cells to help print a new set of healthy organs on the go.
Organs won’t just be the only thing in open-access for patients in need, but so will actual limbs – arms, legs, bones, etc. If you think prosthetic technology is amazing today, just you wait and see what 3D bio printers will print up for you, especially since the design of each limb will simply be limited by the limitations of your imagination. With this will come the launch of body shops – similar to tattoo and piercing shops – where people will be able to walk in and pick out a new body part for them to try on.