Researchers from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina, have developed a portable skin printing system that uses living cells to create tissue-engineered skin grafts to cover burn wounds. It is hoped to be eventually purposed to allow on-site in situ repair of battlefield burn wounds.
The device prints layers of fibroblasts and keratinocytes directly onto the skin. The suspensions with cells are mixed with fibrinogen, type I collagen and thrombin at the moment of application.
The printer was tested on artificially created full-thickness skin wounds in nude mice. The printed cells survived the in situ printing process and wound recovery was much faster than in the control group. The results were presented recently at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress.