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An Article from the January 2005 JOM-e: A Web-Only Supplement to JOM

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LETTER TO EDITOR

Restoring Health, from Replacement Parts to Regenerative Medicine: Challenges and Opportunities

Arthur J. Coury

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OTHER PRESENTATIONS IN THE SERIES

EDITOR'S NOTE: The symposium on Materials and Critical Societal Issues was held during the Materials Science & Technology 2004 conference in New Orleans, Louisiana in September 2004. The speakers' slides from several of the presentations were collected and converted to into portable document format (PDF) files, and a video presentation of "Material Engineering Challenges for the Society of Tomorrow: Housing, Transportation, Health, and Food Delivery Needs", is available for viewing as part of this month's JOM-e.

The development of modern materials such as structural polymers and metal alloys enabled the implementation of many medical therapeutic devices and drug delivery systems over the past half century. These biomaterials-based products, which often served to replace the function of organs, included devices such as prosthetic joints, teeth, lenses, valves, breasts, pacemakers, and bones. Now, the focus of medicine has shifted and the knowledge we have gained in physiology as well as cellular and molecular biology provides the potential for supplanting many mechanical, chemical and electronics-based therapies by inducing the body to heal and regenerate its structures and functions.

As with many disruptive technologies, regenerative medicine approaches such as those found in tissue engineering, gene therapy, and growth-factor implementation have experienced early resistance and setbacks. But the concepts are valid, major successes are unfolding, and the era of regenerative medicine is arriving with only the timing in question. To achieve these breakthroughs, advanced materials technologies will be required to deliver, augment, or enable the cellular and molecular components of regenerative medicine.

This presentation contains information on the following subjects: the FDA Bionic Skeleton, biomaterials research, the new bionic human, advanced medical device concepts, tissue engineering and products, stem cells, bioartificial organs, and other topics. Please view the PDF Overheads for additional information.

For more information, contact Arthur J. Coury, Genzyme Corporation, One Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02319; (617) 768-8002; art.coury@genzyme.com.


Copyright held by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, 2005

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