A decade ago it would have been hard to imagine a bioabsorbable tissue-lined stent graft capable of treating blood vessels that have been ripped apart by a bomb, or a spray-on solution that would promote the regrowth of your own skin after a traumatic injury or burn, or even a portable machine that could treat deadly infections like sepsis in much the same way that dialysis machines treat kidney failure. But today these innovations and many more are being developed to treat wounded warriors and will someday be used not just on the battlefield but in civilian hospitals as well. This week Medical Device Daily will be reporting on the various ways that combat needs have influenced R&D for medical technology in a three-part series. Of course this is not a new phenomenon but something that has occurred throughout history, as far back as World War I and beyond. Probably for as long as battles have existed, war wounds have played a role in advancing medicine on the homefront. But what has changed is the types of injuries that combat medics and surgeons have had to deal with during these two most recent conflicts overseas, primarily because the military now has such advanced, high-tech body armor and armored vehicles, that soldiers are now surviving blasts that otherwise might have killed them. That’s why the majority of injuries these wounded warriors suffer from have been quite traumatic and life-altering, like amputations, paralysis and severe burns. As a military spouse I’m sensitive to the sacrifice that these wounded warriors have made and I am grateful that organizations like the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) at Fort Detrick, Maryland have been able to fund so many R&D projects to advance combat treatment. My fear is that as the U.S. pulls out of Iraq and Afghanistan the government will also stop funding this type of research. During an interview with Maj. Louis Alvarez of the AFIRM, he expressed similar concerns. “We want to maintain awareness and visibility of these injuries that will be lifelong and traumatic,” he said. “... We should maintain as much momentum as possible,” on these fronts.