New Skin for Burn Patients
Burns account for 10 percent of war casualties and can significantly impair function. Because severely burned patients need skin and need it fast, the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is working to develop an off-the-shelf living biological dressing that can act as a barrier and integrate into the patient's existing skin tissue, while at the same time reducing scarring and contraction.
The components of the biological skin dressing will be cells and a biomaterial that can "host" the cells and support their development into a "skin-like" material. Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine researchers are exploring several sources of cells, including stem cells they discovered in amniotic fluid and placenta that could be readily available through a national cell bank.
Additionally, the researchers are also developing ink jet technology as a way to “print” this dressing directly on a wound. Skin cells will be placed in the print cartridge, along with a material to support them, so the dressing can be “printed” where it is needed.