Biocompatibility testing is used to evaluate the host response to implantable materials and to assess their ability to perform in applications in which they are intended to interact with biological systems. In compliance with international and/or national standards, such assessment is based mainly on the results of experimental implantation into animal tissues. However, the development of in vitro experimental techniques creates new opportunities to observe and to understand the interaction of biomaterials with host tissue. The state-of-theart application of alternative methods in biocompatibility testing is presented in this review article. It is discussed with respect to the Three Rs concept (reduction, refinement, replacement) of Russell & Burch. Perspectives on alternative methods in biocompatibility studies are discussed with regard to the possible role of biomaterials in tissue engineering.
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