Biomaterials in Turkey and in the World

Materials that are used in order to remedy the disabilities caused by loss of or damage to tissues are called biomaterials.  Examples of commonly used biomaterials include contact lenses, hip prostheses, artificial vasculature, wound dressings and artificial cornea. In last 10 years tissue engineering products joined among these classical biomaterials.  They differ from the classical biomaterials with the live cells incorporated into their biodegradable structures. Most of them are integrated into the host’s own tissues and heal the defect site without leaving a trace of the biomaterial behind.


Only 15% of the medical materials and devices used in Turkey are produced locally and the rest is imported from USA, Germany, UK, France and recently, from China. According to a report published by TOBB (The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, 2009), in this field Turkey has a qualified labor force and the universities to support them. However, since the ties between the universities and the medical sector are not strong enough, the public confidence in local products is low and the state mechanisms to enhance the use of local products are not sufficient. As a result the high import/export ratio is inevitable.


METU is a pioneer in education and research in the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering area. Since early 1980’s METU has conferred MS and PhD degrees, offered related courses, conducted theses research, organized seminars, workshops and conferences (e.g. BIOMED).  Even though the research projects have the potential to lead to products, the legal and financial environment being not developed sufficiently and the low technological level of the medical sector this potential could not be turned into local medical technology success stories.