Research Nugget #2

As I continue my research in 3-D printing’s application to the medical field I am starting to find a lot of “settled” information among my readers. A lot of the “settled” information would basically be all the clean cut facts about 3-D printing, such as how the process goes and what they are able to print today. The debatable information I am starting to encounter are its future possibilities and the controversy over whether to use stem cells or not.

I have chosen these two nuggets to show sort of a love/ hate relationship between the advancement in 3-D printing technology. In this article I chose a nugget, stated by Rebecca Boyle, that highlights on the love/hate relationship.

gd_4“Stem cells are powerful because they can develop into any cell in the body. Embryonic stem cells, which are taken from human embryos in the earliest stages of development, can be developed into stem cell lines that can be grown indefinitely. This is kind of controversial, especially in this country. But medical researchers think they could be hugely promising for a whole host of human ailments–stem cells could differentiate into neurons, potentially replacing the ones lost in degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s; or they could differentiate into pancreatic cells, curing diabetes; and so on.”

What is stated above by Boyle, represents the hate part of this love/ hate relationship of 3-D printing. As research in 3-D printing continues scientists, engineers, and doctors are bound to hit a roadblock. I think this may be one of those roadblocks because there is so much debate on the use of stem cells for research. It has proven that stem cells are the future of 3-D printing world. Using these stem cells will push advancements in this field even further because of there ability to develop into any cell in the body. It is not necessarily the use that draws all the debate, it is the means of acquiring the stem cells. They have to be extracted from embryonic cells in the early stages when it is at about 150 cells. Lets move onto the love part of the love/ hate relationship of 3-D printing in Brandon Grigg’s article.

130807HAPInfographic02Then there’s the hope that 3-D printers could someday produce much-needed organs for transplants. Americans are living longer, and as we get deeper into old age our organs are failing more. Some 18 people die in the United States each day waiting in vain for transplants because of a shortage of donated organs–a problem that Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a pioneer in bioprinting, calls “a major health crisis.

Thousands of people are waiting for transplants across the world and as a result about 18 people each day die while waiting for them. Is the sacrifice of a small embryonic cell not enough to save all these patients that are in need of a transplant. This love/ hate relationship has its two sides but it is clear which side this debate should lean towards.

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