Printing Skin Cells on Burn Wounds – Wake Forest School of …

By daniellenierenberg

Skin is the body's largest organ. Loss of the skin barrierresults in fluid and heat loss and the risk of infection. Thetraditional treatment for deep burns is to cover them with healthyskin harvested from another part of the body. But in cases ofextensive burns, there often isn't enough healthy skin toharvest.

During phase I of AFIRM, WFIRM scientists designed, built andtested a printer designed to print skin cells onto burn wounds. The"ink" is actually different kinds of skin cells. A scanner is usedto determine wound size and depth. Different kinds of skin cellsare found at different depths. This data guides the printer as itapplies layers of the correct type of cells to cover the wound. Youonly need a patch of skin one-tenth the size of the burn to growenough skin cells for skin printing.

During Phase II of AFIRM, the WFIRM team will explore whether atype of stem cell found in amniotic fluid and placenta (afterbirth)is effective at healing wounds. The goal of the project is to bringthe technology to soldiers who need it within the next 5 years.

This video -- with a mock hand and burn -- demonstrates the process.

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Printing Skin Cells on Burn Wounds - Wake Forest School of ...

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