biomaterials
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A biomaterial is any matter, surface, or construct that interacts with biological systems. The study of biomaterials is called biomaterials science, and is about fifty years old. Through the years, biomaterials science has strongly developed and expanded, and today there are many biotech-related companies that are investing significant capital into the improvement of materials and the development of products. Areas as medicine, biology, chemistry, tissue engineering and materials science are covered by biomaterials science.

Biospecimens are samples of biological materials, like urine, tissue, blood, DNA, cells, RNA, and protein from humans, animals, or plants. After they are collected, the samples are kept in a biorepository to be used in laboratory research when necessary. If the Biospecimens are from humans, it’s necessary to store them with medical information and a written consent stating that the person allows the use of samples in laboratory investigations.

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Biomaterials

Biomaterials can be derived either from nature or synthesized in the laboratory using a variety of chemical approaches composed by metallic components, polymers, ceramics or composite materials. Companies that produce biomaterials are obligated to guarantee that all of the produced materials are traceable, so that in case of flaws in one product it is possible to detect others produced in the same batch.

Biomaterials can be used as joint replacements, bone plates, bone cement, artificial ligaments and tendons and dental implants for tooth fixation, blood vessel prostheses and heart valves. Other common uses include skin repair devices (artificial tissue), cochlear replacements, contact lenses, breast implants, drug delivery mechanisms, sustainable materials, vascular grafts, and nerve conduits.

Biocompatibility is crucial in the application of biomaterial products, because they must match the body and not be rejected by immune systems. Issues regarding compatibilities between certain materials and the organism need to be resolved before the commercialization of the product and before they are applied in clinical settings. This requirement subjects biomaterials to approval requirements similar to those experienced by new medication therapies.

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Biospecimens

In medicine, biospecimens are materials taken from the human body, such as tissue, blood, plasma, and urine, which can be helpful in cancer diagnosis and analysis. When biopsies, surgeries, or other medical procedures are performed on a patient, it is typical to remove a small amount of the specimen that will be stored and used in future research. The samples only get the designation “human biospecimens” after being accurately processed and stored in biorepositories.

Biospecimens can be analyzed by specialists and doctors for signals of different diseases in the patient that donated the sample. The presence or absence of a disease can be confirmed, but biospecimens also offer other useful information for doctors and researchers, for example, in following disease progression, since the sample may contain DNA, proteins, and other important molecules.

One of the most frequent applications for human biospecimens is related with the identification and validation of means to effectively deliver medication or agents to certain cells. They also help to identify progression and variation of diseases. At the same time, biospecimens group patients according to probable responses to specific drugs or according to appropriate treatments. They are also useful to develop screening tests to detect biomarkers associated with certain stages or sub-types of a disease.

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