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Capturing the Full Power of Biomaterials for Military Medicine: Report of a Workshop Summary Advances in biomaterials research and development offer exceptional opportunity for utilization in military medicine and biotechnology. The workshop “Capturing the Full Power of Biomaterials for Military Medical Needs” was held on February 2-4, 2004, to explore this potential. This report of the workshop provides significant information and in-depth perspectives of the presenters and participants with the overall goal of capturing the full power of biomaterials for military medical needs. This summary is intended as a guidance document for the identification of biomaterials with relevance to military medicine, the assessment of current biomaterials technology, and the enabling of new biomaterials development for unique military medical needs. This summary document identifies many of the specialized needs of military medicine: for example, care of massive and acute trauma and the development of functional devices to aid in rehabilitation. Although not a focus of the report, it is important to understand that all of these technologies will eventually be transferred to civilian treatment of related medical problems. Thus, the development of new biomaterials technology and products will find application and utilization in both the military and the civilian marketplace. In identifying biomaterials and their potential importance to military medicine, workshop participants considered both needs-driven and technology-driven product development perspectives. Whereas the development of biomaterials and medical devices in the past has focused on passive and noninteractive materials and devices, the future development of biomaterials and medical devices requires the development of active, interactive, and functional components. In addition to this new complexity, these new materials and devices will most likely require a systems integration approach to combine multiple functions to achieve their intended goal of better health and well-being of the soldier. Although workshop participants were encouraged to look up to 10 years in the future, the report has as its primary focus the practical and useful near-term and mid-term applications of biomaterials in military medicine. Four areas in which enhancement of biomaterials technology and development of new biomaterials will have a major impact on acute, chronic, and rehabilitation care in military medicine are (1) wound care, (2) tissue engineering, (3) drug delivery, and (4) physiological sensors and diagnostics. The discussion and analysis of each of these areas resulted in the identification of specific needs, a vision for the future of the identified biomaterial or product, and a plan for product development that achieves the vision. The ultimate goals of each area discussed are (1) the ability of military personnel to complete their mission, (2) the ability to resolve chronic medical problems, and (3) the ultimate rehabilitation of injured military personnel. In wound care, the discussion of new biomaterials and products focuses on injuries of warfighters at the far-forward position on the battlefield and emphasizes control of bleeding, pain, and infectious contamination. For tissue engineering, the discussion included here identifies significant biomedical areas in which repair of bone, blood vessels, and nerves are required. The vision of these advances and the requirements for such products are presented chronologically, and the report cites important milestones that can be achieved through the application of bioactive materials and tissue engineering concepts.
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Capturing the Full Power of Biomaterials for Military Medicine: Report of a Workshop Drug delivery technologies crosscut all areas of the report—in wound care and tissue engineering as well as vaccine delivery against infectious diseases and functional barriers for environmental factors. Specific topics are presented with a vision of their usefulness across all of these areas. Finally, in the discussion of physiological sensors and diagnostics, an array of information is included that can be learned via sensors and other assessment tools. The real-time assessment of a soldier’s physical and mental state is significant, and this knowledge may enable improved tactics and strategies to permit a soldier to complete his mission. The development of reliable physiological sensors and diagnostic products is important to ultimately accomplish the military mission. To enable biomaterials development, new materials and processes will be required to transition ideas into products. In addition, evaluation protocols must be appropriate and adequate to allow testing of products under real-time and true environmental conditions. Because the military follows federal regulatory guidelines, many products developed for military medicine will easily find usefulness in the civilian sector. The report highlights the need to include regulatory concerns early in the planning process. Participants in the workshop listed several outcomes anticipated as a result of capturing the full power of biomaterials for military medicine: Improving soldier health and well-being Preserving fighting strength Improving the benefit of medical spending Transfer of cutting-edge technologies into civilian medical practice Strengthening the biomedical technology industry Improving troop morale and public perception
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