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Review: 3-D printing organs makes for an exciting new thriller

The 3D printing of organs is some way off, but the premise makes for a thrilling novel title ‘The Organ Grinder Factor’.

At the military hospital in Zaporizhzhia, surgeons have been working around the clock to tend those wounded in the war
At the military hospital in Zaporizhzhia, surgeons have been working around the clock to tend those wounded in the war - Copyright POOL/AFP Anthony Kwan
At the military hospital in Zaporizhzhia, surgeons have been working around the clock to tend those wounded in the war - Copyright POOL/AFP Anthony Kwan

A 3D printer that replicates human organs appears closer to following new innovations with the technology. However, realising this remains a few years away (not least because of the challenges abound achieving biomimicry, vascularization and 3D anatomically-relevant biological structures). This has prevented the concept from being used in a thrilling way in a new novel.

This is one of the compelling, real-world premises underpinning a new book from Stephen Steele called The Organ Grinder Factor. The Organ Grinder Factor is a rapid-fire story about a pair of protagonists on a high stakes mission to save humanity from viruses and cancers, and what they find is a doctor in Israel conducting experiments with a 3D printer.

The book is set amid the horrors of child slavery in Africa and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, The Organ Grinder Factor has a secondary mission for delivers food for thought among the action orientated narrative.

The story is an epic adventure involving the botanist and broke rancher Cyd Seeley and her partner, the recovering drug addict Dr. Alex Farmer. The characters are making their second appearance in Steele’s engrossing series.

As the attention grasping, riveting story begins with the two main protagonists – Alex and Cyd  – on desperate search of a place to safely grow their Cannastar, a miracle cure for viruses that Big Pharm has made illegal.

They shipwreck off the west coast of Africa and wash ashore in the drug and war-torn nation of Guinea-Bissau. Forced to flee for their lives, they arrive in Senegal where they become involved in the country’s real-life child slavery problem and are nearly killed for their efforts.

They find refuge in Israel where they meet the inventor of the ‘Organ Grinder’, an appropriately named 3D printer that replaces damaged internal organs without the need for surgery.

This builds upon scientific study whereby scientists today have already been able to replicate human tissue with a 3D printer. This takes current advances with additive manufacturing and biological knowledge and transposes these to a new biotechnological level.

In the book, the experimental research is funded by a ruthless billionaire with a secret past who becomes Cyd and Alex’s investor in a vast new Cannastar plantation. Even in a technologically advanced society,the interests of big corporations and wealthy individuals influence the lives of ordinary people.

While living in Israel, Cyd is badly wounded in a rocket attack. Her only chance of survival is the Organ Grinder — which has never been tested on a human being. This makes for an exciting set piece.

Without giving any more of the plot away, The Organ Grinder Factor is the action-filled follow-up to Steele’s The Cannastar Factor, which introduced readers to Cyd and Alex and traced their desperate quest to grow Cannastar.

Book Three in the series, The Trouble with Miracles, has just been released and tells the story of a desperate race to keep the discovery of the ancient secret to fusion energy out of the wrong hands in an adventure that ranges from Chile’s high northern desert to the magic of Easter Island and its mysterious statues.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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