Friday 7 November 2014
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Could 3D Printing Provide a Cure for Cancer?

Could 3D Printing Provide a Cure for Cancer?
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While 3D printing has been used to make significant contributions in healthcare with 3D printed body parts, it is yet to find any cure for the deadly cancer. However, soon a day might come when this technology will play an important role in fighting cancer. Andrew Hessel, a genetic engineer at Autodesk, is trying to create a virus with 3D printing which might be able to attack cancer cells one day in the future.  So, what is all this study about and how can it help in fighting cancer? Let us have a look at this post to know more.

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Researching on 3D Printed Virus

A few days back, a $1.5 billion research lab was opened by Google’s Calico, to work with large pharmaceutical companies.  The lab worked on creating a cure for aging.

Now Autodesk, which is known specially for its CAD software, has created a Life Sciences lab. It is located in San Francisco and is dedicated for the research of digital biology. Andrew Hessel will be researching in the Bio/Nano Programmable Matter group at the lab. Right now his focus is on creating customized viruses with the help of 3D printing. These 3D printed viruses could assist scientists in creating new vaccines to fight the deadly disease or attack cancer cells. The viruses are customized for each person as one size won’t fit everybody.

What’s the Virus?

Hessel thinks himself to be a bio-hacker and calls his work as cancer hacking. The new virus that he has created with 3D printing is known as synthetic Phi-X174 bacteriophage. This virus infects the E. coli bacteria and it is non-malignant for humans. The virus was created within two weeks and the total money spent was $1,000. Hessel however plans to decrease this cost to $1.

If you are wondering how that can be possible, take this example. Six years ago, it took $10 million for the DNA sequencing of a genome. Now, the entire process costs only $1,000.

Even if it is a long way to go before a 3D printed virus can actually attack cancer cells, Hessel thinks that 3D printing will transform the way patients interact with the pharmaceutical companies.

What do you think?

Do you think this 3D printed virus can really help in fighting cancer? Is this an indication that this technology is making a huge progress and will soon become an indispensable part of healthcare? Share your views in the comments below.

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Olivia Young is a blogger with more than five years of experience. She loves all things related to virtual reality, augmented reality and other technologies. She loves to share her passion for technology with her readers. If you have any questions you can get in touch with Olivia on Google+ or get in touch via Twitter (@augmentedtrends)

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