Kylee, Rachel B., Rachel G., Lydia
There is currently a shortage in donors, causing people to be on the waiting list a dangerous long amount of time. There have been two responses to try and grow organs to try and make the waiting lists obsolete. Dr. Esmail Zanjani is working on using sheep to host organs that can be transplanted into humans (Westphal). Also, Dr. Atala is working in the laboratory to reconstruct organs using stem cells taken from the diseased organs. He has already successfully transplanted a bladder into multiple children and teenagers with long term success (Baird).
Organs: 3-D Printing
Gene Therapy is a new technology that could revolutionize the way we think about biomedicine. Rather than seeing symptoms of an illness and treating accordingly, what if we were to discover a disease and cure it before it had even manifested? What if we could do this before the carrier had even been born? For genetic diseases this could become reality. Gene therapy is a procedure in which a healthy form of the missing or defective gene is inserted into a benign virus which is then injected into a patient where it transmits the healthy gene throughout a patients body; basically rewriting/correcting their DNA and treating their disorder. Human testing is currently taking place, and right now the focus is on fetal application. Gene therapy could cure serious genetic disorders such as Sickle Cell Anemia in an unborn baby at just 14 weeks. Though there are risks involved and the critics argue against it, the amazing medical advancements that could be made using gene therapy far outweigh the risks and ethical concerns.
Future of Bio Engineering
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"Need an Organ? Print 3D Stem Cells." New Scientist 9 Feb. 2013: 18. Science Reference Center. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
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Westphal, Sylvia P. "Growing Human Organs on the Farm." New Scientist 20 Dec. 2008: 4-5. Science Reference Center. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.