Boston—From contact lenses to drug delivery systems to scaffolds for growing living tissue, polymers have had numerous medical applications in the last 50 years. Thanks to these materials, many people's lives have been saved and quality of life has been improved for many others.
Polymers are large molecules made by linking together many small molecules (monomers) to create a material with useful new properties. Despite their success in medical applications, there is still need for improvement in polymer development, said Buddy D. Ratner, PhD, of the University of Washington, Seattle, at the Symposium on Biomedical Polymers for the 21st Century: Overview and Ophthalmic Applications, which was held here in March. "We have a successful field, but are we advancing?" he asked.