Great Ideas

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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Importance of 3D Printing

              Importance of 3D printing 

     Holding your 'suspension of disbelief' for a little longer, a pair of 3D glasses can make your movie watching experience extraordinary. Consider watching Kong - Skull Island in 3D; believe me you will find yourself on the edge of the chair by the time this giant ape appears on the screen. You would see its brooding eyes staring directly into your face.

     I know there is nothing new  about these multicoloured box-like glasses. We all have tried them; they don't fascinate  us anymore! So, what's new then?
     3D printing is the new craze. When techies are going gaga over 3D printed  cars, sculptures and miniatures, doctors and biologists are showing interest in printing living hearts, kidneys and brains. Now, this sounds exciting - and creepy!

      This innovation means taking medical treatment to a whole new level. This promises a new kidney to a teenage girl who visits hospital twice a week for dialysis; a heart to a middle-aged man
who is sick and tired of cardio workouts, regular check-ups and pills; or maybe a brain to an old woman who desperately wants to cherish her memories lost to Alzheimer's disease.

     As I am writing this on June 14, I won't bash my country. In fact, this is the right tune to talk about the advancements we have made in the field of medicine. Sarosh Madhani, a medical student at Aga Khan University, recently proposed the idea of 3D printing a live brain tissue at a health symposium.How amazing is that! For him, Grey 's Anatomy, an American TV show, became a source of inspiration.When Dr Yang- a character in the show mentioned that she wanted to print a living heart, like so many other young doctors, Saros began to think about it.

          Initially, 3D technology was used to create medical equipment using silicon or collagen as ink. Then, medical students were introduced to 3D models of organs to understand human, anatomy. After that, researchers started to look into using stem cells to create living organs -just like the ones found in our body!
      Scientists around the world are already busy growing ears, bones and muscles in their - petri dishes.Poor rats and monkeys have always been,
easy subjects for the scientists; millions of rats undergo surgery for research purposes - don't we hate these 'nasty' creatures? All 3D printed organs are first implanted into tlieir bodies; scientists are happy that these creatures continue to live for several months.

     "Almost every brain disease could be treated if we are able to print brain tissues," Sarosh adds. Every day, thousands of people are injured  in road accidents.Even a little damage to their nerves can have long-term effects on their body. People end up losing control  over their facial muscles or their limbs; for such people, life becomes extremely painful.We know that bioprinting will revolutionizes medical treatments and that scientists are already using sophisticated laboratory machines
to print organ tissues, but we will have to wait. "Right now, research on bioprinting is in its early stages; ethical issues will have to be dealt before technology could be put to use here," Sarosh explains.

        No matter how far-fetched and bizarre 3D printing sounds, it is real and scientists around the world are taking it seriously. As an aspiring neurosurgeon, Sarosh truly believes in the power of 3D technology and thinks we can make
it possible in Pakistan as well. Moral restrictions and lack of funds would surely come in their way, but in the end, everything would come down to saving lives.

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