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Bioprinting, Ethics, Morals, Religion and Politics

by Pete Basiliere  |  January 30, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

Gartner Says the Applications of 3D Printing Will Ignite a Major Debate on Ethics and Regulation

The Rapid Development of 3D Bioprinters Will Spark Calls to Ban the Technology for Human and Nonhuman Use by 2016

These headlines from a press release issued earlier today garnered quite a bit of world-wide interest, for example the International Business Times and Computerworld.

Our key point was not lost in the coverage: The technology of 3D ‘bioprinting’ (that is, the medical application of 3D printing to produce living tissue and organs) is advancing so quickly that it will spark a major ethical debate on its use by 2016.

Some people have been asking “Why?” They suggest that only good could come from such medical applications.

And, in an ideal, pure world they would be right. But we don’t live in such a world, do we? For the hundreds and thousands of researchers fighting for a cure, there may be one who is not.

Consider another side to bioprinting. The Complex heterogeneous tissue constructs containing multiple cell types prepared by inkjet printing technology study, which combined human and animal cells, demonstrated “the feasibility of fabricating complex heterogeneous tissue constructs containing multiple cell types using inkjet printing technology.” While demonstrating yet another advancement in inkjet printing technology, the key point is that the combination of human and animal cells happened without general public awareness.

And that will ignite the debate among people who have ethical, moral, religious and even political concerns with such human/animal bioprinted combinations.

So, what do we do?

We continue to do good bioprinting research and we simultaneously consider the meaning of this work. What are the ethical, moral, religious and political implications of the work that is being done?

Those questions must be asked now, not once the research is complete.

What is your opinion?



Tags: 3-d-print  3d-print  3d-printer  bioprinter  bioprinters  bioprinting  debate  digital-printing  ethics  morals  organovo  organs  politics  regenovo  religion  tissues  

Pete Basiliere
Research Vice President
12 years at Gartner
18 years IT Industry

Mr. Basiliere provides research-based insights on 3D printing and digital printing hardware, software and materials. Mr. Basiliere's Maverick research coined the term Generation AI, people born after 2010 who will not know a world without application intelligence in their lives. Read Full Bio

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