Printed cells to treat burn victims

April 12, 2010 by Lin Edwards, Medical Xpress report
A device used to bioprint skin onto burns demonstration. Image credit: Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine/Handout

(PhysOrg.com) -- A medical device that works rather like an inkjet printer is being developed in the US to heal burns and other wounds by "printing" skin cells directly onto the wound. The device, called a bioprinter, may reduce the need for skin grafts. It would be mounted on a wheeled frame and positioned over the bed of the patient.

A laser inside the bioprinter, which was developed at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, first measures the size and shape of the wound and then applies specific precisely where they are needed. The skin cell spray is produced by dissolving from pieces of skin and then separating cell types such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts. The purified cells are then incubated in a nutrient solution where they multiply. They are then placed into sterilized cartridges and sprayed onto the wound by a similar process to a multi-color , with the fibroblasts sprayed on first followed by a layer of keratinocytes. The sprayed-on cells form a protective shield for the wound.

The device has so far only been tested on mice, but the initial results show wounds heal quickly and safely, with wounds healing three weeks faster than those that were untreated. Professor of regenerative medicine at the University, George Christ, said the group would next test the device on pigs, who have skin resembling human skin. They will eventually apply for approval from the US to allow them to carry out human trials. The team is also liaising with the US Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine with the aim of producing a device that could be used to treat wounded soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Victims of severe burns can die of infection within a couple of weeks unless if they do not receive , but the grafts can leave serious scarring. In the bioprinter the skin cells became integrated in the surrounding skin, which the researchers said was probably because the sprayed cells included immature stem cells. Student Kyle Binder, who helped design the device said when the cells were put into the wound, they “know what to do”.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Could vitamin B3 treat acute kidney injury?

August 20, 2018
Acute kidney injury, an often fatal condition without a specific treatment, affects up to 10 percent of all hospitalized adults in the United States and 30-40 percent in low-income countries. The condition causes a build-up ...

New assay to detect genetic abnormalities in sarcomas outperforms conventional techniques

August 20, 2018
Sarcomas are rare tumors that are often misdiagnosed. Specific recurrent chromosomal rearrangements, known as translocations, can serve as essential diagnostic markers and are found in about 20 percent of sarcomas. Identification ...

Team develops new way to grow blood vessels

August 17, 2018
Formation of new blood vessels, a process also known as angiogenesis, is one of the major clinical challenges in wound healing and tissue implants. To address this issue, researchers from Texas A&M University have developed ...

New imaging technique can spot tuberculosis infection in an hour

August 16, 2018
Guided by glowing bacteria, researchers have devised an imaging technique that can diagnose live tuberculosis in an hour and help monitor the efficacy of treatments. That's particularly critical because many TB strains have ...

Obesity, infertility and oxidative stress in mouse egg cells

August 16, 2018
Excessive body fat is associated with negative effects on female fertility and pregnancy. In mice, maternal obesity impairs proper development of egg precursor cells called oocytes. In a recent paper published in Molecular ...

Research shows it's possible to reverse damage caused by aging cells

August 15, 2018
What's the secret to aging well? University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have answered it- on a cellular level.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.