Principles of Tissue Engineering, Fifth Edition: Chapter 86: Ethical Issues

Elsevier, Principles of Tissue Engineering, Fifth Edition, 2020, Pages 1585-1591
Laurie Zoloth

New devices are emerging that utilize the convergent technologies of several different fields of science and engineering to create tissue that can mimic the structure and function of the natural world. Examples include the creation of skin grafts, corneas, bone, cartilage, and, in some pilot studies, bladders. Such advances herald a remarkable ability to heal, a long-awaited solution to several intractable problems, and a serious alternative to cadaveric or living-donor whole organ transplants. However, no medical advance of this magnitude takes place without raising ethical concerns. This chapter poses the questions: What are the distinctive ethical challenges to the field of tissue engineering? Does tissue engineering raise new ethical issues, or are the concerns changed by the convergence of other technologies that have been understood to be individually ethically freighted? How do ethical questions about the manipulation of human stem cell, the use of CRISPR or other methods of gene editing, and the challenges of organ transplantation appear when tissue engineering emerges as a possibility?