Monday, September 21, 2015

3-D printing to create a "Bioficial" Heart

            When it comes to the field of biomedical technology and engineering, there is always room for the next great development. At the University of St. Louis Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, a man by the named Stuart Williams is in the final stages of developing the first “bioficial” heart. Williams has been working with 3-D printing to create the world’s first bioengineered heart.  As stated on the University of St. Louis’ research page, the heart itself would consist of “Tissues that are created using cells derived from an individual’s fat and extracted with a machine. They go into the BAT, and the living cells are mixed with a glue that will eventually dissolve inside the body like surgical sutures”. These living tissues would fuse with the 3-D printing material and react with the human body. As of now is being tested in mice. Also, this technology is not limited to organs. Researchers have begun to use 3-D printing to make other life saving tools such as splints and appendages, in one case saving the life of a young baby. In his article, Williams states, “…in the case of the baby in Michigan, university officials said the splint was created from a CT scan of the patient’s trachea and bronchus, integrating a computer model with 3-D printing”.  This technology speaks for itself, as does the amazing life saving results.

            With the use of technology of this caliber, doctors will have the power to replace failing organs and save the lives of countless people.  However, there is more to this technology then just the benefits it offers, it will also save the patient large sums of money. The overall cost of the production and procedure would cost about $250,000. It is important to note that if this technology is federally approved it would most likely be covered by insurance. I feel technology that has the power to do what this can deserves the spotlight in the IT world. If more tech companies were able to join forces with these brilliant scientists and researchers, they could possibly streamline the development process. The quicker we can bring the 3-D printing of organs into clinical trials, the quicker countless lives can be saved.

Works Cited
Unger, Laura. "Louisville Researcher, Stuart Williams, Ph.D., Is Closing in on Printing 3-D Hearts - Cardiovascular Innovation Institute (CII)." Cardiovascular Innovation Institute CII. 29 May 2015. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.
Dolcourt, Jessica. "Health Tech Is Going to save Your Life (for Real) - CNET." CNET. CNET, 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

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