Bio-printing human parts will spark ethical, regulatory debate
3D printing also threatens intellectual property rights
Computerworld - The rapid development of 3D bio-printers will spark calls to ban the technology for human and non-human tissue within two years, according to research firm Gartner Inc.
In a report released today, Gartner predicted that the time is drawing near when 3D-bioprinted human organs will be readily available, an advance almost certain to spark a complex debate involving a variety of political, moral and financial interests.
"At one university, they're actually using cells from human and non-human organs," said Pete Basiliere, a Gartner Research Director. "In this example, there was human amniotic fluid, canine smooth muscle cells, and bovine cells all being used. Some may feel those constructs are of concern."
Gartner also noted that 3D printing will change retail models and threaten intellectual property (IP), resulting in massive losses for companies that hold those licenses. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least $100 billion a year in IP.
"The very factors that foster innovation -- crowdsourcing, R&D pooling and funding of start-ups -- coupled with shorter product life cycles, provide a fertile ground for intellectual property theft using 3D printers," Basiliere said.. "Already, it's possible to 3D print many items, including toys, machine and automotive parts, and even weapons."
John Hornick, an IP attorney with Finnegan, Henderson, Farbow, Garrett & Dunner LLP in New York, said as much at the Inside 3D Printing Conference last fall. "IP will be ignored and it will be impossible or impractical to enforce," Hornick said. "Everything will change when you can make anything."
3D bio-printing ethics
The technology of 3D "bio-printing", which uses extruder needles or inkjet-like printer heads to lay down successive rows of living cells, is advancing at breakneck speed, Gartner said.
Major challenges still face the industry, such as creating the connective tissue or scaffolding-like structures that support the functional tissue in a human organ. And, laying out living cells is one thing, but creating the vascular structure to support tissue with oxygen and nutrients is yet another challenge. Traditionally, tissue created in a lab dies before leaving the petri dish, experts said.
San Diego-based bio-printing company Organovo has overcome the vascular issue -- to a degree. "We have achieved thicknesses of greater than 500 microns, and have maintained liver tissue in a fully functional state with native phenotypic behavior for at least 40 days," said Mike Renard, Organovo's executive vice president of commercial operations.
Organovo hopes to be able to print a functioning liver this year. The organ would not be used for implant purposes, but for pharmaceutical testing and development.
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- The Growing Demand for Rich Media This white paper discusses how IBM Customer Experience Suite Rich Media Edition can automate rich media workflows, from collaborating with creative agencies and...
- Intelligent Imaging for Improved Banking Performance and Profitability A new generation of "Intelligent Imaging" solutions has emerged that is helping banks remove the burden of paper in legacy processes, like loan...
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!