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Bioprinting and its Impact on Global Society

One upcoming technology that has the potential to have a significant impact on global society is bioprinting, a type of 3D printing that can create living tissue, bones, and even organs. As of right now, the ability to print organs for transplant is not available, but when this technology is efficient and usable, it will have the power to change the world both positively and negatively. In just the United States, about 114,000 people are on the organ transplant waiting list according to the American Transplant Foundation (1). This is an astounding number and shows that globally, the number must be massive for people who need access to organ transplants, especially considering the lack of healthcare in many nations compared to the United States. With a revolutionary technology like bioprinting entering the picture, this massive global problem could be solved. Not only would bioprinting solve the organ failure crisis, but it also has the ability to improve health care in many other ways such as replacing limbs, preventing skin grafts, and fixing burn wounds and deformities. As well as this, bioprinting allows for easier testing of drugs and other medicines. L’Oreal, the renowned cosmetics company, has begun using bioprinted tissues to stop testing products on animals (2). Clearly, bioprinting has plenty of advantages for the world and its population, but bioprinting also has its downfalls. A lot of the issues that bioprinting faces are ethics related such as the availability of this technology to only the rich. Emily Summerbell of the International Forum of Cell Biology says “bioprinting runs the same risk of becoming accessible only to the very rich.” (3). Clearly, bioprinting has plenty of potential to change global society for the better and worse, but its potential impact on the human population is undeniable. This is even more clear when looking at the numbers around this industry. In 2018, the market size of bioprinting was .68 billion dollars but it is projected to reach 4.4 billion dollars by just 2026 (4). This incredible growth just proves bioprinting international impact even more.

(1)https://www.americantransplantfoundation.org/about-transplant/facts-and-myths/

(2)https://labiotech.eu/medical/loreal-get-into-bio-printing-skin-for-cosmetic-tests/

(3)https://www.ascb.org/science-news/bioprinting-ethical-and-societal-implications/

(4)https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/05/02/1815536/0/en/3D-Bioprinting-Market-To-Reach-USD-4-40-Billion-By-2026-Reports-And-Data.html

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