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Biomaterials and Medical Devices: Striding Towards a Healthy Future.

Among the various areas of science and technology, Biomedical Technology is closest to human life. It deals with materials, devices and techniques integrating to human body to mitigate diseases or repair defects and to improve the quality of life. Active research in this area started way back in 1970 when the term 'biomaterials' was coined to represent the class of materials having potential use in medicine, other than drugs. That was in fact an interfacing of Materials Science with Medical Science through strands of Biological Science. Studies revealed factors that govern cell growth, differentiation and regeneration, in connection with the treatment and recovery of native biological systems.

Biomedical research showed a steady progress, with advances in metallic, ceramic and polymeric materials knowledge at macro, micro and nano scale levels, and generated technologies for medical devices, diagnostics and drug delivery systems. This area has always been a foster yard of innovations. Photonics and electronics interfaces with biomaterials led to theranostics.

The knowledge of biological interaction of materials opened up scope of growing cells in biomaterial scaffolds. Scientists dreamt about regrowing defective tissues, and the developments in biotechnology and biomechanics also contributed a lot to make it a reality. In a period of two decades, these efforts created a new paradigm of 'Tissue Engineering', enabling the repair or replacement of tissues. The synthetic approach of growing tissues led to a significant percolation of Biomedical Science into Medicine, leading to the new area of Regenerative Medicine. One ambitious venture is to combine both diagnostics and therapeutics into a single nanosystem, referred as nanotheranostics, to tackle most dreaded diseases like cancer. The technique of 3D printing of scaffold building has matured to 'bioprinting' incorporating cells and factors. Now the field is again in the limelight with a potentially game-changing technology of "Human Organs Printed on Demand".

Needless to emphasize, the ambitious ventures of Biomedical Technology to repair or support human body is now a reality, and 100s of thousands products are in the global market based on biomaterials. Medical devices including high-risk, long-term implants and diagnostic devices are in high demand world over and the current market size is USD 71 billion. This market is increasing owing to the proliferation in geriatric population coupled with high incidence of life-style diseases. Given the annual growth rate of 16.0%, market surveys predict a target of USD 149 billion by 2021. Asia-Pacific region is expected to witness the highest growth during this period.

Medical device innovation happens when a committed team (comprises scientists, engineers and physicians) hatches an idea and goes through difficult steps involving multiple disciplines (medical, mechanical, materials, manufacturing, testing and management) and institutions (hospitals, engineering institutes, regulatory agencies and industry). Understanding the importance and challenges, the government bodies worldwide, has made policy decisions to increased funding and grants for Medical device innovation and taken steps to promote entrepreneurship in this area. The various scientific societies are now actively involved in promoting Biomedical Research by organizing conferences and bringing out publications, providing platform for the interaction of researchers.

Society for Biomaterials and Artificial Organs (India) has always been instrumental in bringing up Biomedical Research in India. Most significant event last year was the organizing of the Asian Biomaterials Congress in India. This series of biennial meetings (ABMC1 to ABMC5) of Asian researchers working in the field of Biomaterials and Biomedical Science and Technology have made a global impact in developing novel techniques, methods and devices for healthcare during the past decade. The 6th Asian Biomaterials Congress (ABMC6) was conducted in Thiruvananthapuram during 25-27 October 2017 with the theme 'Innovative Biomaterials: Technologies for Life and Society'. Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) served as the host institution and the event was coorganized by the Society for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (India) (STERMI) and the Asia Pacific Society for Artificial Organs (APSAO).

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology is the pioneering Institute in India dedicated for biomaterials research and device development. During the past 4 decades, the Institute played a decisive role to establish a domestic biomedical device industry base in India. It has established a model center (the Biomedical Technology Wing) for taking a device idea to patients' bedside through systematic translational activities. The scientists' team of SCTIMST has done the commendable job of conducting the conference.

All the Institutions in India engaged in biomaterials research has been involved in realizing ABMC6. Research groups from IISc and various IITs and other National Institutes have joined to represent the research strength of the host country. The ABMC6 was a platform for researchers, academicians, industrial partners and experts from all over the world working in the area. Japan represented the most number of institutions--Kyoto University, Osaka University, Kansai University, Kobe University, Tohoku University, Ryukoku University, Kyushu University, Ibaraki University, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Keio University, Yamagata University, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center Research Institute (NCVC), Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and National Institute for Materials Science. Republic of Korea (Chonnam National University of Gwangju, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul National University, and Ewha Womans University) and Taiwan (Kaohsiung Medical University, National Tsing Hua University and Cheng Hsin General Hospital) showed strong representation. Other Asian countries participated were Singapore (Nanyang Technological University), Republic of China (Sun Yat-sen University) and Saudi Arabia (King Saud University). Researchers from Australia (UNSW Sydney, Queensland University of Technology, and University of South Australia), UK (Imperial College London), USA (Creighton University School of Medicine and Northwestern University), Portugal (University of Minho) and Nigeria (Federal University at Abeokuta) also participated in ABMC6. The participants interacted and exchanged their knowledge and experience, as well as presented their research developments in a stimulating multidisciplinary forum of experts. ABMC6 contained more sessions on clinical and engineering aspects of biomaterials and devices. A separates session was organized to discuss regulatory aspects.

The present issue of Trends in Biomaterials and Artificial Organs is a special issue on the 6th Asian Biomaterials Congress (ABMC6). Research towards finding novel and innovative biomaterials and their modifications to suit our needs have to sustain. Conferences like this with participation form interdisciplinary fields including industry will be highly beneficial for further developments in this field.

Dr. Harikrishna Varma


About Asian Biomaterials Congress

The core objective of the Asian Biomaterials Congress is to promote the application of materials in medicine for clinical use, largely aiming at the benefit of mankind. Over the past 30 years Biomaterials had shown exponential progress with immense success in developing novel medical devices and implants. Numerous innovative biomaterial-based products have appeared in the market which helped in improving the quality of human life. All medical specialties are orienting more and more to Regenerative Medicine which is fuelled by Biomaterials research.

Currently about 1.5 million biomaterials-based medical products are in the market, in 900 product categories, covering 50 clinical specializations. At present the global market size is worth 71 billion USD and it is predicted to get doubled in a decade's time.

Although most of the related business is concentrated in the US and in some of the European countries, Asia has become the platform for biomaterials research. The steady progress of metallic, ceramic and polymeric materials, their composites, biomechanics, and bio-nanotechnology in various research centers in Asia led to the birth of various scientific societies on biomaterials research. The biennial series of Asian Biomaterials Congress was planned as a platform to share the ideas. The first Asian Biomaterials Congress (ABMC1) was held in Tsukuba, Japan during 6-8 December 2007. Other Congresses followed in different Asian cities: Singapore (ABMC2, 2009), Busan, Korea (ABMC3, 2011), Hong Kong (ABMC4, 2013) and Taipei, Taiwan (ABMC5, 2015). The Asian Biomaterials Congress serves the role of co-ordinating and promoting the biomaterial and medical device related R&D activities.

Planning of the 6th Asian Biomaterials Congress

The 6th Asian Biomaterials Congress (ABMC6) was planned to be conducted in during October 25-27, 2017, in the ABMC5 of Taipei in 2015. The decision was supported by the Society for Biomaterials and Artificial Organs, India (SBAOI), Society for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, India (STERMI) and Asia Pacific Society for Artificial Organs (APSAO). Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) Trivandrum was chosen as the hosting Institution for the Sixth Congress because it has been instrumental in establishing medical device industry base in India and is leading the related research in the Country. Dr. Ashuthosh Sharma (Secretary, DST) and Dr. Asha Kishore (Director, SCTIMST) were the patrons of this Conference. Eminent scientists adorned the list of organizing committees.

Hotel Apollo Dimora in Trivandrum was chosen as the venue because it is situated at the heart of the aristocratic city and have the facilities for conducting 3 parallel sessions.

Theme of ABMC6 "Innovative Biomaterials: Technologies for Life and Society"

Biomaterials science have benefited from the advances in multidisciplinary approach of medical, engineering and physical sciences. This translational research brought out various medical devices and diagnostics (products, services and procedures) that helped patients to lead a longer and healthier life. The continued progress in molecular biology, materials science, pharmaceutical sciences, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, instrumentation, clinical engineering and practices, helped in creating globalised technologies. Novel materials can provide specific bioactive signals to control and respond to changes of the biological microenvironment during the process of osseointegration and tissue regeneration. Advances in process of replacing, engineering and growing tissues and organs in the laboratory can restore or establish normal physiological function. Tissue engineering uses scaffolds to grow cells and it is now developed as a field of its own. However, the interaction of cells and biomaterial surfaces is of fundamental relevance that significantly contributes to the clinical success of implants. It is reported that orthopedic, musculoskeletal and spine segment will grow significantly in the worldwide medical devices market. Other important segments are products related to dental, cardiolovascular, skin and cancer treatments. It is expected that the innovative biomaterials market reach US$139 billion globally by year 2022 growing at a CAGR of 11.8%. A latest market research claims an "increasing usage of implantable products and growing awareness of biomaterials application in emerging economies fuels the growth of the biomaterials market". Innovative biomaterials based technologies for diverse applications are expected to significantly benefit the end user i.e. the Society.

The conducting of the 6th Asian Biomaterials Congress

The 6th Asian Biomaterials Congress (ABMC6) was held in Hotel Apollo Dimora, Trivandrum, with the theme "Innovative Biomaterials: Technologies for Life and Society". The Conference was inaugurated by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, on October 25th 2017 in the function held at Hotel Apollo Dimora, Trivandrum, presided over by Shri. KM. Chandrasekhar, President, SCTIMST. Prof. Chandra P. Sharma (Founder SBAOI & STERMI) made the welcome speech followed by felicitations by Prof. Asha Kishore (Director, SCTIMST), Dr. Harikrishna Varma (Head, Biomedical Technology Wing, SCTIMST), Dr. Prabha D. Nair (President STERMI), Prof. Justin Cooper-White (President, Asian Biomaterials Federation) and Prof. Toru Mazuzawa (Secretary General, APSAO). Dr.Manoj Komath, the Organizing Secretary, expressed the Vote of Thanks. The Conference Souvenir was released by Shri. K.M. Chandrasekhar by giving the first copy to Dr. Shashi Tharoor.

Leading researchers in the area of biomaterials and medical devices, belonging to various research Institutes and Universities in India (55 speakers) and in different Asian Countries (more than 40 speakers) delivered invited lectures. There were 30 sessions in 3 parallel proceedings. More than 200 research students presented papers, who are working in the field of Advanced Biomaterials, Medical Devices and Implants, Tissue Engineering, Drug Delivery, Regenerative Medicine, Orthopedics and Dentistry. Delegates from all parts of Asia including, China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Indonesia and India and also delegates from USA, Portugal and Australia attended the 6th ABMC.

Prof. Gilson Khang Department of BIN Fusion Technology and Polymer Nano Science and Technology, Chonbuk National University, Korea delivered the Congress Plenary and the Chandra P. Sharma Award Lecture and discussed about the recent advances of the commercialization for tissue engineered and regenerative products. According to him India and China, in the near future, will emerge very strong in the medical sector. The population of over a billion people, the range of diseases, and level of quality of life in India were huge positives for the sector, he said. Tracing Korea's development, he s aid 50 years ago it was a very poor country with little food and other amenities, but today it was one of the most developed in the world which had occurred with industrialization coupled with infrastructure building and science and technology development.

Prof. Yasuhiko Tabata, Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Japan while delivering his plenary lecture discussed about the significance of cell-based tissue regeneration combined with delivery technology of biosignals. This therapy takes advantage of the self-healing potential of the body itself to induce tissues to regenerate and repair. The third plenary by Prof. Xiao Cheng Liu, Professor and Chief Surgeon of TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital, China described the initial concept development of Chinese Axial Micro Pump System (CHAMP System). CHAMP system is of great potential for biventricular assist.

Keynote lectures delivered by the eminent scientists from India and abroad discussed various important sectors from additive manufacturing in biomedical devices, nanobiomaterials in regenerative medicine, conductive patches in delivery of excitable cells, enhanced bio fictionalization of metallic implants by nano featuring, cellular targeted delivery for cancer treatment, smart hydrogels for cardiac tissue engineering, chitosan based hydrogels for wound care systems, small diameter xenogenic acellular blood vessel, rotary blood pumps for mechanical circulatory support, Diagnostic imaging and the role of contrast agents, applications of silk proteins as biomaterials, nanoengineering for manipulating immune response in bone regeneration, regulatory toxicology in medical device development, cartilage tissue regeneration strategies, to dental implant systems development. Several invited lectures on development of cap based bioeramics, polymer-ceramic nanocomposites, bioactive bone tissue engineering scaffolds, ventricular assist device treatment in Japan, development of indigenous vascular graft, surface engineering in tissue regeneration, designer dendrimers, and surface modification for orthopedic applications, corneal tissue engineering, regulatory aspects of medical devices etc had a detailed discussions among the delegates.

There were 3 poster sessions, during which the young students and researchers interacted with senior scientists in the area. In the concluding session, prizes and awards were distributed. Several participants gave the feedback that the whole program was very useful and it will contribute to the betterment of current biomaterials research.

Organisers and Sponsors

In every conference, the role of the organizers and sponsors is very crucial. The success of ABMC6 mainly based on the reputation of the organisors and the support of able sponsors.

Society for Biomaterials and Artificial Organs, India

"Society for Biomaterials and Artificial Organs--India" was established in 1986 and registered under the Travancore-Cochin Act XII of 1955 to cultivate an atmosphere nationwide for the growth of basic and technological oriented research in Biomaterials and Artificial Organs. SBAOI helped in bringing the professionals from various faculties together to improve the quality of their approach in biomaterials research in India. SBAOI is a member of the union of constituent societies in biomaterials science and engineering, the International Union of Societies Biomaterials Science & Engineering (IUS-BSE). SBAOI have conducted several national and international conferences hosted at different national institutes like IITs, IISc and other universities It has been attended by delegates from various countries like, USA, UK, Korea, Germany, Netherlands, Turkey, Japan, Australia, China, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, New Zealand, France, Italy, Poland, Russia and Portugal. SBAOI represented all the World Biomaterials Congresses since 1996 at Toronto.

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram, India is an Institute of National Importance with the status of a University established in 1980 under the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India by an Act of Parliament. The joint culture of medicine and technology that the Institute pioneered more than three decades ago has come of age and gained unprecedented acceptance in India. Imbued with an inclination to venture into less-trodden domains, the Institute focuses on patient care of high quality, technology development of industrial significance and health research studies of social relevance.

Asia Pacific Society for Artificial Organs

Asia Pacific Society for Artificial Organs (APSAO) is a cooperation of Artificial Organ Societies of at least 12 different countries established in year 2013, which hold meetings every third year to increase cooperation, communication and education in the field of artificial organ research. APSAO will promote the study of the art, science and practice of artificial organs in Asia-Pacific region, and facilitate the exchange of ideas in the field of artificial organs through scientific meetings and by personal contact between artificial organs specialists in Asia-Pacific region.

Society for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, India

The Society for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine India (STERMI) was established in 2007 as a charitable society with a basic objective to integrate Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine to enhance the health care system and to bring the interdisciplinary scientists together for improving the related R&D in India. STERMI represents Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) in India.

Sponsors of the Conference

Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), DST Govt. of India, New Delhi, Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) New Delhi were the government agencies who supported the conference. The funding provided by these funding agencies supported young and senior faculties attended the conference by way of travel and daily allowance, pre-conference and proceedings printing and secretarial assistance. The other organizing expenses were covered by the registration fee collected and minor support from private organizations.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Varma, Harikrishna
Publication:Trends in Biomaterials and Artificial Organs
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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