Technological & Patenting Issues with 3D Printed Human Organs
Pallid statistics states that there are over 120,000 people who need organ transplant in the U.S. only. And the chances are that vast majority of these people will never tarry the time when the needed donor and organ will be found. However, there is always hope – and help may come from the side no one has ever expected. Recently scientists reported that they have managed to print some parts with help of living cells on 3D printers.
Still, this technology evokes many issues and themes for discussion, currently in terms of patenting – can this technology be patented as a process of creating organs and tissues with help of 3D printing. Or these organs automatically fall under the specification products of nature that cannot be patented?
What technological issues scientists face?
Human biology is one of the most important and challenging barriers on the way to successful 3D printing of human organs. In order to create an organ or a tissue that will be accepted by the body of the patient it is necessary to create a customized organ that holds patient-specific data.
Scientists are developing ways to bear down that barrier with help of TSIM and BioAssemblyBot 3D printer.
TSIM is an abbreviation for Tissue Structure Information Modeling software – it customized 3D models for printing by integrating scans and MRIs of a patient to the model.
This technology potentially is able to save thousands of life every year…and bring billions to the owners and developers. Today simple 3D printed constructions like titanium hip joints bring more than half a billion dollars every year.
Is it possible to patent the technology?
Taking into consideration the possible amount of money that this technology can bring, the patent on it can gild its owner. However, there is a law that states that “no patent may issue on a claim directed to or encompassing a human organism.” And it seems that the America Invents Act is going to change it. Still, bioprinted organs, although created with help of the machine, are naturally occurring – and that leaves a field for discussion.