Evidence-based biomaterials research
The fast development of biomaterials science and engineering has generated significant number of studies and publications as well as tremendous amount of research data. A methodology is needed to translate such research data and results to validated scientific evidence. This article for the first time proposes the concept and methodology of evidence-based biomaterials research, which is to use evidence-based research approach represented by systematic reviews to generate evidence for answering scientific questions related to biomaterials. After briefly introducing the advancement of biomaterials since 1950s, the scientific and engineering nature of biomaterials are discussed along with the roadmap of biomaterials translation from basic research to commercialized medical products, and the needs of scientific evidence. Key information of the evidence-based approach such as its origination from evidence-based medicine, levels of evidence, systematic review and meta-analysis, differences between systematic and narrative reviews is then highlighted. Applications with a step-by-step procedure of conducting evidence-based biomaterials research, three examples of biomaterials research using evidence-based approach to generate scientific evidence, and opportunities and challenges of evidence-based biomaterials research are presented. With its notable impact on the practice of medicine, the evidence-based approach is also expected to make influential contributions to the biomaterials field.