Monday, January 4, 2010
Scientists around the world are cultivating skin in labs. The skin is used to assist in the healing of wounds.
One team harvests skin from horses, pigs and reptiles. Another team cultivates human stem cells and claims it can grow enough skin to cover 4 football fields.
This is a revolutionary step in burn management, because burned skin loses its ability to regenerate cells. To date, solutions have been limited to skin grafts where skin is excised from other parts of the body, transplants from cadaver skin and in worst case scenarios where infection becomes too risky, amputation of the burned area.
According to an article in the NY Times, the outer layer of skin has been the most difficult to address.
A lab called Organogenesis cultivated a skin farm from a single infant's foreskin. They managed to nurture the growth of the top layer of skin, which is a major breakthrough.
Meanwhile, French scientists have regenerated skin using embryonic stem cells.
The most common uses of skin cultures have been with diabetics, who develop severe ulcers that often require amputation.
at 11:51 AM