Thursday, October 13, 2011

Skin Cell Regeneration from a Bioreactor - Very Cool

Skin Cell Regeneration from a Bioreactor
by Chris Higgins - October 11, 2011 - 3:49 PM

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This is so cool! My younger and favorite brother, Paul, was burned on his face, neck, and arm this last Auguest the day after we left Ohio for home. He is doing fine and his beautiful face is almost back to normal. His arm will be scared. It has taken weeks of painful recovery and we all learned about the treatment of bad burns. I hope this "skin gun" gets in the hands of every burn unit world wide.

Here’s a clip from National Geographic Explorer, showing Dr. Jörg Gerlach’s experimental “skin gun,” a tool used in regenerating burned skin using the patient’s own skin cells from other parts of the body. This technique, though experimental, can heal in a matter of days, rather than the weeks (and the associated scarring caused in that time) typically necessary for other techniques like skin grafts.
Gerlach: “We isolate cells from the healthy part of the skin — the patient’s own cells — which can be taken in a water solution, and that solution is prepared for cell spraying.”
The whole approach is part of Gerlach’s work on bioreactors; his approach involves not just the applicator gun, but also a system for growing cells and a special wound dressing that helps with healing. In the video below, we see one example of a man who had second-degree burns over much of his face, right arm, and right shoulder which was treated with the experimental technique — and to my eye there’s virtually no scarring. Let’s hope this works for others!
Warning: there are a few images of second-degree skin burns in this video, though they are not shown with the intent to gross you out. If you’re not cool with seeing a bit of post-burn flesh, don’t watch. Just in case, I put the video (with its poster frame of a second-degree-burned hand) after the jump:

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