When a piece of skin is the same size as a nickel and placed in a Swiss bioengineering machine, it can create a skin transplant the size of an entire manhole cover.
The machine, which is approximately the same size as a coffeetable, allows skin to stretch to greater lengths in order to assist millions of people who are suffering from debilitating injuries or even death due to burns.
The victim’s healthy, unaffected cutaneous skin cells are taken from him. Next, he “grows” them in a laboratory before adding hydrogel to them. The resulting skin of 1mm inches thickness is the equivalent to our natural skin layers.
This technology is called denovoGraft. It’s already being used for treating people, even though it has just completed phase II trials. It’s because it’s the only viable option for those with severe skin conditions, such as rare illnesses or serious burns.
“At this moment we can multiply surface area of original sample by a function of 100, and ultimately we’re aiming for a number of 500,” said Daniela Marinao, cofounder and director denovoGraft’s developers CUTISS.
According to a Swiss news source, around 11 million people are subject to severe burns each year. This could be the beginning of a more democratic approach to treatment that would allow those in conflict zones or developing countries to have a denovoSkin procedure. The denovoGraft can perform multiple grafts simultaneously without any manual input. This allows for a dramatic reduction in production time and cost.
The market for skin reconstruction after scarring or burning is worth less than $2B, but only 40 people are employed full-time.
Marino stated that there are 20 European centres of excellence for treating severe burns. Later, it’s certain that we’ll need to find partners.
Marino expects phase III trials to be finished sometime after 2023, after which the procedure would initially be available principally in Europe.
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