A paradigm shift: biomaterials that heal



Biomaterials based on synthetic polymers have been explored in medicine since early in the 20th century. The inert nature of polymeric materials and their many fabrication options suggested possibilities in medicine to surgeons having to deal with repair and replacement of diseased or injured organs and tissues. Now the biomaterials/medical device industry is estimated at US$ 150 billion worldwide and saves the lives of millions and improves the quality of life for millions more. In spite of the success of biomaterials and medical devices, there are issues with ‘biocompatible’ biomaterials that have an on impact medical practice and stimulate scientific questions. This perspective discusses the fact that although we have been reasonably successful with implants, there is much room for improvement. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry