POLYPEPTIDE GROWTH factors probably have tremendous potential. But, despite the biotechnology industry's enthusiasm, participants at a recent conference on growth factors and wound healing generally agreed the work is still in its very early stages.
The conference, which is sponsored by the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of California, San Diego, is a yearly event designed to address what planners believe are the more important upcoming developments in reconstructive surgery. Participants say it is specifically intended to be a skeptical forum.
As a result, the participants' assessments of the state of the art in growth factors tended to be reserved and circumspect—"optimistic but guarded," said one. That contrasts with the enthusiasm voiced by some industry spokespersons.
Surveys indicate that there are almost 60 biotechnology companies in this country actively pursuing growth factor research. Worldwide, more than 100 are involved.
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Many of them predict that a