Global Health Nexus, Spring 1999

International Ceramics in Medicine Symposium Held at NYU Dentistry

The College of Dentistry hosted more than 250 scientists from 22 countries for the 11th International Symposium on Ceramics in Medicine, held in November. Entitled "Bioceramics: Present and Future," the meeting focused on advances in the use of ceramic materials for medical and dental applications, including bone grafts and coatings for dental and orthopedic metal implants to make them more biocompatible.According to Dean Michael Alfano, "Bioceramics is one of the cutting-edge areas in biotechnology today, and it was a great honor for the NYU College of Dentistry to greet the world's leaders in this rapidly evolving area." Dr. Racquel Z. LeGeros, a chairperson of the symposium, who is the Linkow Professor of Implant Dentistry at NYU and current president of the International Society for Ceramics in Medicine (ISCM), added, "Bioceramics promises immense benefits for improvements in health care. For example, 20 years ago people who needed bone grafts were dependent on either bone transplants from their own bodies or from cadavers, which carry with them the possibility of rejection and infection. Bioceramics offers a safer and better solution."

Bioceramics calls on the expertise of researchers with multidisciplinary backgrounds including cellular and molecular biologists; materials scientists (chemists and engineers); clinicians; manufacturers of bone graft materials and implants; and representatives of the National Institutes of Health. Papers at the symposium reflected this spectrum of research specialties, including presentations on tissue-engineered or biomimetics-based biomaterials; cell/materials interaction; and clinical applications in orthopedics, dentistry, maxillofacial surgery, and plastic surgery.

The symposium was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by corporate supporters including Howmedica; Osteonics; Johnson & Johnson; Bioplant, Inc.; Sulzer-Calcitek; Block Drug; Clarkson Chemicals; US Biomaterials; ETEX; HiMED; BioMatlante; CeraMed; and Orthovita, Inc.