Feel good story in 2016 that you might have missed.
Longer life expectancies and an end to suffering are good things. And mice and monkeys are cute. This is what we might call the animal testing enigma—science struggles to give humans better lives without making animals’ existences shorter and nastier.
But a change reported on in October could help solve that dilemma. The first-ever fully 3D-printed “heart-on-a-chip” was developed by Harvard researchers this year, offering a synthetic substitute for the living tissue currently used in animal testing. Beyond saving animal lives, organ-on-a-chip devices can be efficiently produced and researchers claim they are more accurate at mimicking human pathophysiology.
If you had failed to see the point of 3D printing so far, think of the millions of lives—human and animal—that could be saved.