3D bioprinting: printing parts for bodies
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In January 2012, a little boy's life was saved by a 3D printer. Kaiba Gionfriddo was born with a rare defect. When he was just six weeks old, his left bonchial tube collapsed. He stopped breathing. His parents rushed him to the hospital, where he was resuscitated. But over the next weeks, the attacks continued to recur. Kaiba's parents were told that, without help, he could die. Kaiba's doctors then took an extraordinary step. They contacted tissue engineering researchers at the University of Michigan. The scientists took a CT scan of Kaiba's airways and used the data create a life-saving implant, using a 3D printer, which was a perfect fit. The implant saved Kaiba's life, and now he has the strong breathing of a healthy baby boy. This incredible story is an early example of a new clinical paradigm in biomedicine: 3D bio-printing. It may be only a few years before every major hospital contains 3D printing capabilities. This e-book will tell the story of this revolution. It is written for a general audience, using animations and videos to explain the technology. Case studies of incredible stories, such as Kaiba's, illustrate the impact that has already been made on real lives. Along the way we will answer questions such as: What is 3D printing? How does it work? Is it really possible to print living cells? Can we print an organ? Could we print the human body? And in a time when new body parts can be printed on demand, where is the line between healing and enhancement-and should we cross it?