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How 3D Printing is Revolutionizing the Future of Medicine

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DECEMBER, 2018

Printing skin grafts over burns, using your own skin cell DNA… creating a scaffold to grow replacement bone that isn’t rejected by your body… and, eventually, printing replacement organs that are 100% compatible because they are regenerated from your own DNA.

If this sounds far fetched, some of this is being done on a modest scale today, such as the 3D printing of corneas.

What about printing bone? Yes, the technology is getting very close to being something which can be done within a year or two.

And, perhaps the most exciting, is 3D printing replacement organs. Within a decade or so, we may see human organs being 3D printed using the DNA from our own bodies, the proverbial holy grail as it comes to bioprinting and 3D printing!

The ramifications of being able to 3D print, not just a generic cell structure or organ, but one based on your DNA, could mean vastly improved life spans, reduced costs, and “cures” for many conditions, such as a diseased liver or heart. While it is not quite as simple as “swap out the old one for a new one”, it is a radical departure from having to wait months or years for a matching donor, for you or I become our own donor.

“…WE ARE MOVING TOWARDS A WORLD WHERE IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO PRINT IT…”
— Jason Chuen

So, let us imagine a world where terminal patients don’t have to wait months or years for an organ transplant, a world where the chances of organ rejection, or not having a suitable match, becomes an impossibility.

Bioprinting, whereby we literally print out cells to create new skin, new bone, new organs, may or may not become feasible within the next 10-20 years, but could very well become commonplace by 2040 and later.

What are your thoughts on this subject? 

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