19 February 2020

Technology holds hope for improved burns treatment

Research Technology

The term “awesome” is routinely misused, but when it comes to the application of 3D printing technology to medical science the old-school definition of the word can sometimes prove entirely appropriate.

Take the treatment of skins burns as an example. Back in 2018, Canadian scientists demonstrated a hand-held device that could theoretically “print” skin directly onto wounds. They described the device as akin to a duct-tape dispenser squishing out a piece of tissue tape.

What’s more, the “bio-printed” skin contains healing proteins as well as mesenchymal stromal cells, which assist the body’s immune system and encourage new cell growth.

The latest news is that trials of the technology have produced very promising results.

Reporting in the journal Biofabrication, researchers say that in testing undertaken on pigs’ skin which had full-thickness burns, 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.

The hope is the device can ultimately replace the need for skin grafts in burn wound treatments.

Now that really would be awesome.

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