Canadian Scientists Develop Device That Prints New Skin Onto Burn Wounds

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Canadian Scientists Develop Device That Prints New Skin Onto Burn Wounds

A team of scientists from Canada has created a medical product that can print artificial skin sheets onto severe burn wounds.


Researcher Axel Günther told Smithsonian Magazine:
"The analogy is a duct tape dispenser, where instead of a roll of tape, you have a microdevice that squishes out a piece of tissue tape."


The team published their results from the device's latest trial on pigs in the Biofabrication journal – bringing it one step closer to use in people hospitalised in burn clinics.


The options the doctors have to treat burns are not few. So far, the widest known form of treatment is a skin graft, where the damaged tissue is removed and replaced with healthy skin from another part of the patient's body. However, not in all cases is a skin graft an option.


In a press release, Günther explains,
"[I]n 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."


Alternative treatments for burns involve, in vitro skin substitutes and collagen scaffolds, but those are claimed to carry certain disadvantages. So, a device that prints skin directly onto a burn can be a real lifesaver.


With the device, the requirement for grafts can be completely eliminated by placing bioink strips directly onto the wound. The healing properties in the bioink, along with the mesenchymal stromal cells, can boost the body's immune system and promote new cell growth.


In the latest trial, the team tested its device on full-thickness burns in pigs with very encouraging results.


"We found the device successfully deposited the 'skin sheets' onto the wounds uniformly, safely and reliably, and the sheets stayed in place with only very minimal movement," said researcher Marc Jeschke.


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

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Thinking Humanity: Canadian Scientists Develop Device That Prints New Skin Onto Burn Wounds
Canadian Scientists Develop Device That Prints New Skin Onto Burn Wounds
A team of scientists from Canada has created a medical product that can print artificial skin sheets onto severe burn wounds. Researcher Axel Günther told Smithsonian Magazine: "The analogy is a duct tape dispenser, where instead of a roll of tape, you have a microdevice that squishes out a piece of tissue tape."
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