Researchers at the University of Toronto Engineering, Sunnybrook developed a new handheld 3D printer that can deposit sheets of skin to cover large burn wounds and accelerate healing. The "bio ink" covers wounds with a uniform sheet of biomaterial composed of mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs) that regenerate skin and reduce scarring. The project brings research towards 3D skin printing closer to advancement and medical use. It is the first prototype of the skin printer depositing and setting in place in two minutes or less.
"Previously, we proved that we could deposit cells onto a burn, but there wasn't any proof that there were any wound-healing benefits -- now we've demonstrated that," adds Professor Axel Guenther.
The current therapeutics for burns is autologous skin grafting that depends on transplantation of healthy skin tissue from other parts of the body onto the wound. However, with large and more severe wounds full-thickness burns, transplantation remains a challenge.
"With big burns, you don't have sufficient healthy skin available, which could lead to patient deaths," says Dr. Marc Jeschke, director of the Ross Tilley Burn Centre. "Once it's used in an operating room, I think this printer will be a game changer in saving lives. With a device like this, it could change the entirety of how we practice burn and trauma care."
Learn more about some advance in skin grafting:
The handheld 3D printer is a single-use microfluidic printhead that ensures sterilization. Researchers believe that the device could be added in a clinical setting within the next five years.
Source: Science Daily