A Handheld Device That Could Print New Skin

In Clean Facts, Health, Innovations, News, Products, Technology
device

In 2018, Canadian scientists unveiled a handheld device that “prints” sheets of artificial skin directly onto the wounds of burn victims. Now the same team has published the promising results of its latest trial of the device — putting it one step closer to actual use in burn clinics.

Doctors currently have several options for treating severe burns. The most common is a skin graft, which involves removing damaged tissue and replacing it with healthy skin from another part of the body.

But in some cases, grafts aren’t a viable option.

In cases where a patient has extensive full thickness burns — which destroy both the upper and lower layers of the skin — there is not always sufficient healthy skin left to use.

The team’s device eliminates the need for grafts altogether by depositing strips of a special bioink directly onto a wound. This bioink contains healing proteins as well as mesenchymal stromal cells, which assist the body’s immune system and encourage new cell growth.

For the new trial, the team tested its device on full-thickness burns in pigs — and was very pleased with the results.

Most significantly, the results showed that the [mesenchymal stromal cell]-treated wounds healed extremely well, with a reduction in inflammation, scarring, and contraction compared with both the untreated wounds and those treated with a collagen scaffold.

Reference- Journal Biofabrication, Smithsonian Magazine, IFL Science, Futurism

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