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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsWe have now explored the ethical and regulatory challenges that the rapid escalation of 3D bioprinting presents. There are no easy answers here. These are issues we have not had to deal with previously. The traditional approach, the clinical trials, is not applicable with personalised medicine. Who decides who gets what treatments when? Will treatments to provide superhuman enhancement emerge? Who will regulate material supply, the machinery-- indeed, the person driving the machine-- the biofabricator? Of utmost importance is the necessity to engage the community with the scientists and clinicians as we strive to answer these questions. The conversation must begin now, if we are to avoid nontechnical issues delaying the delivery of revolutionary treatments to the clinical environment.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsI trust you have enjoyed the journey with us, over the last four weeks. We are keen to hear your thoughts on the course. If you are keen to learn more, you may be interested in our master's course in Biofabrication. This is a joint venture with QUT, here in Australia, Utrecht, and Wurzburg universities. Or perhaps our new master's course in Electromaterial Science, a course that emphasises the need to create useful structures and devices using advances in material science. The great thing about 3D printing-- it's putting the ability to create back in the hands of the creative.

Week 4 conclusion

While 3D bioprinting demonstrates unique potential, its success is not yet guaranteed; researchers who promote it will have to show its long-term effectiveness, but above all, its safety.

The history of medicine is littered with promising technologies that have failed the test of time because researchers who developed them ignored early ethical warnings. By identifying and addressing the specificities of bioprinting before its applications are ready to be widely used, clinicians, health policy-makers and societies can ensure responsible and safe usage.

Because these technologies have the possibility to radically alter many medical practices, is it essential for regulatory authorities to ethically and safely meet patients’ expectations within societal demands for secure, fair and cost-effective healthcare.

The future of bioprinting presents an opportunity to directly rewrite some aspects of medicine. However, responsible regulations will likely determine what bioprinting will become in the book of the history of medicine.

To find out about available courses:

  • Click HERE for information about the Master of Philosophy (BioFabrication). The link is http://www.electromaterials.edu.au/biofab-masters-degree/

  • Click HERE for information about the Master of Philosophy (Electromaterials). The link is http://www.electromaterials.edu.au/masters-degree-in-electromaterials/

If you are interested in reading more on the subject click HERE to buy the ebook 3D Bioprinting: Printing parts for bodies

University of Wollongong, 3D Bioprinting: Printing parts for bodies, 2014, Wallace, G.G., Cornock, R.C., O’Connell, C.D., Beirne, S., Dodds, S., Gilbert, F.

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This video is from the free online course:

Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts

University of Wollongong