Ethics and Policy for Bioprinting

  • Eliza GoddardEmail author
  • Susan DoddsEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2140)


3D bioprinting involves engineering live cells into a 3D structure, using a 3D printer to print cells, often together with a compatible 3D scaffold. 3D-printed cells and tissues may be used for a range of purposes including medical research, in vitro drug testing, and in vivo transplantation. The inclusion of living cells and biomaterials in the 3D printing process raises ethical, policy, and regulatory issues at each stage of the bioprinting process that include the source of cells and materials, stability and biocompatibility of cells and materials, disposal of 3D-printed materials, intended use, and long-term effects. This chapter focuses on the ethical issues that arise from 3D bioprinting in the lab—from consideration of the source of cells and materials, ensuring their quality and safety, through to testing of bioprinted materials in animal and human trials. It also provides guidance on where to seek information concerning appropriate regulatory frameworks and guidelines, including on classification and patenting of 3D-bioprinted materials, and identifies regulatory gaps that deserve attention.

Key words

Human research ethics Animal research ethics Governance Regulation Bioethics 3D Bioprinting Stem cells 



The authors wish to acknowledge funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence Scheme (CE140100012).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, Humanities and Social SciencesLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement)La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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