Now here’s something that will excite all you smokers out there, according to the University of Wollongong 3D printed organs such as replacement lungs are not all that far away. This is a boon for people on waiting lists for replacement livers, hearts or eyes. It does beg the question however of just how long until we begin to modify healthy people.?

Researchers from UOW’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) and St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, announced in Melbourne today (Friday 3 May) that they are just three years away from printing custom-made body parts, including muscle and nerve cells and cartilage. And in just over a decade, they believe will be possible to print human organs.

“Within a few years, we believe it will be possible to manufacture living tissues like skin, cartilage, arteries and heart valves using cells and biomaterials. Using a patient’s own cells to create this tissue avoids issues of immune rejection. By 2025, it is feasible that we will be able to fabricate complete functional organs, tailored for an individual patient.”

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So this begins to open up a whole can of worms when we consider a world wide population explosion. As an individual I love the idea of being able to go in for day surgery to simply “fix” all the issues that have resulted from my poor lifestyle choices, however it begs the questions of should we be able to live longer.? If nature has designed us to live into our early hundreds then what’s the impact on humanity once we start extending our lifespans beyond two or three hundred years. ?

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