Research Nugget #7

APA Citation: Adhikari, R. (2014, March 27). Bioprinting, Part 2 – The Ethical Conundrum. . Retrieved July 25, 2014, from

Live Link to Article: Bioprinting, Part 2 – The Ethical Conundrum

Richard Adhikari continues, from his first article Bioprinting, Part 1 – The Promise and the Pitfalls, in this article to express the ethical side of Bioprinting. Adhikari Initially states the problem that resides in the United States which is the long wait forpill organ transplants. 3D printing is the best alternative because even organ transplants have to undergo immunosuppressive therapies, which can lower the recipients quality of life.

He then moves to the moral and ethical questions Bioprinting generates. He mentions that money, insurance, moral decisions of who will get treatment, initial patients being guinea pigs, rules and regulations that have to be followed, and the use of 3D printing for athletes and for people that want to change appearance, will all be issues that will come about.

“Nearly 120,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list for an organ transplant that may save their lives, according to the American Transplant Foundation.

“In the short term, we need many more people to register to be a potential organ donor,” Jordan Miller, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University, told TechNewsWorld.

However, donor organs require immunosuppressive therapies, which can limit the recipient’s quality of life, so over the long term, the medical community is “extremely excited about focused research funding to help progress 3D-printed organoids and organs for treating human patients.”

The present thinking is that it will take decades to clear up the many technical problems that still have to be resolved before 3D-printed organs can be used for transplants. However, given that improvements in technology tend to follow a logarithmic rather than a linear pattern, the wait might be shorter.”

In this nugget from the article Adhikari answers Linda Federico-O’Murchu’s question, “Even if it technically works, should we be doing it?” on a medical standpoint. As stated in this article the amount of organ donors is too high compared to the amount of patients that need transplants. As a result Brandon Griggs in The next frontier in 3-D printing: Human organs states, “Some 18 people die in the United States each day waiting in vain for transplants because of a shortage of donated organs.” It seems like we should be doing it, but it just is not that easy.

“There already are guidelines to handle patients being exposed to new medical technologies.

Hospital oversight boards would regulate donor issues, cells and tissue for informed consent, Kevin E. Healy, who chairs the department of bioengineering at UC Berkeley, told TechNewsWorld.

A magazine covering ethics in biology, engineering and medicine already exists.

The Biomedical Engineering Society approved a code of ethics back in 2004.

“Medical consent laws and medical ethics have come a long way since the days of Henrietta Lacks,” Rice University’s Miller said. “The FDA has strict safety and efficacy standards for implants made from a patient’s own cells.”

logo3D printing or Bioprinting seems like the best solution to the organ problem, but in Adhikari’s article I learned about a new twist. Along with all the debatable questions there exists an actual code of ethics for the Biomedical Engineering Society. I generated my research around the ethics of Bioprinting but never actually knew there were codes for it. There is no doubt in my mind new rules will be set on this area of Biomedical Engineering. It could in fact lead officials “to ban the use of 3D printing for human and nonhuman use by 2016” as Adhikari also asserts.

imagesBioprinting again proves to constantly have loop holes in every advancement it accomplishes. As it continues to grow Bioprinting could either carry many rules and regulations on its back or seize to be permitted.

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