in public health
life expectancy at birth has increased approximately four-fold in 300
years. Yet after the age of 40, bones, joints and organs begin to wear
out and the incidence of severe disability increases. The resulting healthcare
costs and quality-of-life issues are major concerns in an ageing population.
Younger people too, can suffer from organ failure or disabling injuries.
lives and maintain people's mobility, independence, and quality of life
as long as possible, it is necessary to assist, repair or replace parts
of the human body. This spells out a need for new surgical tools and new
and better biomaterials for medical implants. The European Commission
has funded, and continues to fund, promising research in this area.
include: repairing damaged bone
or skin; developing bio-hybrid
organs; and new tools for complex surgery (the Phidias