Thursday, February 24, 2011

Printing Skin

A report from CNN on Saturday pointed me in the direction of a new use of biology and technology at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. It seems they've reached the pre-clinical phase with a new "ink jet" printer technology that will "print" cells directly onto burned and damaged skin in the battlefield.

According to the Wake Forest site, the current products to promote burn healing have significant limitations because often there is not enough undamaged skin for a good graft, the bandages need time to be prepped before application, or the size of the available products does not meet the needs of the patient.

With this new technology, cells will be loaded in to the cartridges and, after scanning to ascertain the optimal shape and size, the cells will be applied directly to the burned/damaged skin. It will protect from infection, keep the area from drying out and scarring, and promote healing.

Early trials with mice show promising results.

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