The Language of Biomaterials-Based Technologies

  • David F. WilliamsEmail author


A consensus conference on the language of biomaterials science held back in 1986 identified a series of definitions that underpinned this important area. Language naturally evolves and, over 30 years later, it was deemed relevant to re-visit this topic. Within a critical, fast-moving field such as medical technology, it is essential that this evolution identifies with accuracy, validity, and clarity while avoiding the dangers of hype, exaggeration, and advocacy. This Perspectives Paper summarizes the major conclusions of a new consensus conference held in Chengdu, China, in June 2018 that debated the words currently used in biomaterials science. The occasion was used to re-evaluate some conventional terms that needed updating in the light of scientific and clinical advances, and also to assess and develop the terminology of growth areas such as tissue regeneration and biomaterials-related biotechnology. Among these forward-looking terms were tissue-inducing biomaterials, regeneration and its derivatives regenerative medicine and regenerative engineering, and several terms associated with microphysiological systems, organoid technology, and biomaterialomics. A full transcript of the conference will be published shortly.

Lay Summary

In June 2018, a Consensus Conference on Definitions in Biomaterials Science took place in Chengdu, China. The present paper discusses the rationale for this conference and summarizes the main definitions that were agreed. These especially concerned some of the terms recently introduced in the areas of regenerative medicine and regenerative engineering


Implantable devices Artificial organs Drug delivery Tissue regeneration Biochip Biocompatibility 


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Copyright information

© The Regenerative Engineering Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative MedicineWinston-SalemUSA

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