Throughout our life there is only one thing that remains unchanged, this is the progress of technology. The progress which is always an integral part of technology and until the end of time it will always be improving. In today’s society, every day something new arises. It may be a technology that has been long forgotten by everyone and has been reworked in a new way, or it may be a completely new discovery. This is not significantly important because in the modern world technology affects everything. Today, there are many inventions that we use every day, devices that help with daily routines, professional tasks, new knowledge, and even more. The development of technology not only helps us eliminate inconvenience, but also it makes our life much easier. At the present time, it is quite difficult to find something where technologies have not impacted our society. Technology has a significant role in science, education, entertainment, medicine, religion, and even in animal life. Alongside many inventions, it is clear that 3D printing has its advantages, which make it one of the most promising inventions. 3D printing opens up a completely new way of creating products, it also offers a lot of new ways to create rather than traditional production methods. With this new technology, the devisers have already found many different ways to apply it in construction, the creation of automobiles, machinery, as well as small parts and accessories. Now, 3D printing is widely used to help animals by making artificial limbs for disabled animals and creating implants that give living creatures a new life. The inventors have found a way to use 3D printing to replicate human skin, bones, joints, and organs, which also can help to stop animal testing. 3D printing technology changes not only the life of our society for the better but also the lives of animals, providing a wide range of opportunities and even saving lives.
With the help of 3D printing technology, the period of animal testing may extinct. Since the 1980s, the French cosmetic company L’Oreal has been researching human tissue samples, trying to avoid animal testing. A few years ago, the company began a partnership with Organovo, a bio-printing company that provides 3D-printed human skin for testing cosmetics. This kind of cooperation can be useful for all participants in this business. For printing companies, the dissemination of bioprinting on a commercial scale has the potential to bring in a lot of money; for cosmetic companies, bioprinting technology is the next step in cosmetic industries; as well as it helps animals, who will no longer be used in experiments. One of the founders of Organovo Keith Murphy states, “3D printing is really powerful because you can make a nice, thick tissue with all the cell types. That makes it more replicative of native tissue,” which helps to customize and improve product testing (“3D-Printing Human Skin: The End of Animal Testing?”). Likewise, for several years, scientists have tried to incorporate 3D printing in medicine and veterinary. They found a way to make tubes with living tissue instead of plastic or metal, which gives them the opportunity to observe the reaction in the real-time mode. However, after some time, laboratories and biotechnology companies around the world began to develop more advanced printers and launched print prototypes of body parts, including heart valves, ears, bones, and skin. The fact is that this technology makes testing more cost-effective and more accurate, which in the near future will reduce the need for animal testing. Currently, scientists at L’Oreal laboratories use fabrics that have been donated by plastic surgery patients to grow skin samples. Nevertheless, it is not yet perceptible when the technology will be applied to product testing since the partnership is currently at the research stage.
3D printing is a brilliant scientific solution to safe clinical trials. More recently, molecular genetics has found a way to recreate tiny copies of human organs with human cells that can be used to study diseases and to understand how these diseases can be cured. In this way, they can conduct experiments efficiently and safely for living beings. According to a medical science writer and researcher, Kathy Jean Schultz, “[m]ore than 80 percent of new drugs tested in the United States to determine if they are safe for use by patients fail during clinical trials because they are ineffective. More than 30 percent are toxic” (“Would You Trust a 3D-Printed Mini Organ to Test Your Drugs?”). It is not only that experiments with animals are deadly and toxic, but also it does not give any guarantee in the accuracy of predicting the effects of drugs. Thus, we have an urgent need for improved testing systems that 3D printing technology can provide. Even so, due to the fact that organoids do not have access to the nervous and blood systems, which can become a significant obstacle when testing certain drugs. To solve this problem, scientists connect the body-on-a-chip. This is a new technology, developed by engineers, that allows linking human tissue samples by microfluidic channels, which lets to reproduce the interactions between organs. So it gives the opportunity to make the same connection as in the human body. Surgery Professor Todd Evans and his colleagues at New York’s Weill Cornell Medicine created an organoid derived from colon cancer stem cells as well as a platform for testing drugs that block diseases caused by patient-specific mutations. Despite all the advantages of this method, Evans states that “there are obvious limitations, and these approaches will never replace clinical trials” (“Would You Trust a 3D-Printed Mini Organ to Test Your Drugs?”). Basically, he thinks that it is not possible to achieve the same interaction between the organs as in human’s body; as well as it is impracticable to re-create many other physiological and metabolic processes in laboratory conditions during tests on organoids. Researchers from Max Planck Institute of Biological Cybernetics states that no alternative methods can replace animal experiments in brain research, “[m]ethods that exclude animal experiments are not sufficient for understanding brain functions and disorders” (“Alternative Methods”). Those methods that may be acceptable for testing drugs may not be applicable to brain research.
3D printing is being used so widely to help animals after amputation, musculoskeletal or neurological disorders. Sometimes traditional prosthesis is not a good option, and 3D-printed prosthesis has more advantages such as flexibility, uniqueness in manufacturing, and organic form. Some time ago, artificial limbs for animals did not exist at all due to lack of research. A new prosthesis that appeared over time more often did more harm than good. A traditional prosthesis may not suit animals properly, or may even damage the motor system. So in order to find the desired prosthesis, high costs were required, or in certain cases there was no suitable prosthesis, therefore it was often proposed to put the animal to sleep. This example demonstrates that it is not always possible for us to find a solution using traditional medical devices. Now, there is the possibility of creating any necessary prosthesis. All that is required is 3D scanning, 3D modeling of the part and printing itself. It is also worth mentioning that this technology is less expensive due to the additive production, which does not require expensive forms, materials, and manual labor. In comparison with the traditional method of manufacturing prostheses, which requires more time and manually create complex and unique forms. Therefore, making prostheses for animals using 3D printing is increasingly succeeding and improves the quality of animals’ life. There are many cases of assistance to animals with prostheses made by 3D printer. Sometimes it is very difficult for an animal to move due to the absence or deformation of the paw or tail. Scientists were able to find a way to print suitable prostheses, which gives animals a second chance. Observing the movements of the animal with a new part, inventors could estimate if the prosthesis is convenient for the animal. Although, if the animal was not comfortable, then they could print a new more adapted model. This technology makes it possible to make new tails for crocodiles, paws for ducks, dogs and cats, armors for turtles and crabs, horseshoes for horses, beaks for birds and much more. In addition, they use only suitable materials for the animal’s habitat in the production process of prostheses.
3D printing is an incredible technology of the present and the future, which makes it possible to make almost everything much faster, cheaper, and more accurate than other technologies. It is possible to use various materials such as plastic, metal, wax and so on. Also, manufacturers no longer need to spend time creating things with their hands, now they can rely on a 3D printer. At this stage, we have the opportunity not only to create things for life, accessories, clothes, houses, but also medical prostheses for people and animals, and organs for testing medicines. Creating organs for testing and artificial limbs for animals are just some of the ways to save and help animals live with the power of 3D printing. Over the past few years, there have been many stories of helping animals with this new technology, no doubt the number of such cases will increase every year. Thereby, 3D technology completely refutes the conclusions of people who believe that technology is not able to help or solve our problems. In the TED talk “Can Technology Solve Our Big Problems?”, Jason Pontin states that “[i]t is not true that we can not solve big problems through technology.” The progress of technology has changed and continues to change various aspects of our life, it also helps to cope with many problems. 3D technology is a great example of this. Unique capabilities of 3D printing are not only a charity act and the salvation of the animal world but also an opportunity to show the development and improvement of technologies and their impact on our lives.