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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
Ethics in Biomaterials Research
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33174; Affiliated Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry, Affiliated Faculty, Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
There have been rapid advances in biomaterials research in the past few decades, which have influenced almost all areas of medicine and dentistry. Many ethical concerns related to the use of biomaterials fabricated from artificial substances including metals, polymers, and ceramics have been raised in the past. Most of these include safety and potential harmful effects on the human body. The development of biomaterials that incorporate biological materials such as cells with more traditional, non-biological materials will likely mean that new ethical questions will arise. With significant advances in molecular and cell biology and nanotechnology, the need for safe and effective therapies will also create unique ethical situations in the future. The use of animals in biomedical research has generated opposition from animal rights groups, which has created new challenges to scientists and researchers that warrant further actions. Responsible research by biomaterial scientists in the future will necessitate the incorporation of many new rules and regulations to the existing code of ethics. These will be necessary if new-age materials from emerging areas of science and technology are going to be morally and ethically acceptable to the scientific community and to society.
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