As the saying goes, we all wish we had a second skin..sometimes. the saying takes on serious significance when we hear about patients who have been badly burned or who have skin cancer diagnoses requiring the removal of substantial amounts of skin. Medical researchers have been trying to grow artificial skin for a long time. Artificial skin would allow doctors to treat patients requiring large amounts of skin replacement, better and faster.
Researchers who have been hard at work on tissue engineering can now look to Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart. Experts there are working on fully automated tissue production. Up until now the process to make tissue has been carried out manually and costs have been high. The researchers in Stuttgart have collaborated with other colleagues in Technology IPT and manufacturing and engineering departments within the Fraunhofer Institute to create an elaborate and novel conceptual design for tissue manufacturing.
First they take a sample of human tissue (through biopsy) and check to make sure it's sterile. A machine then cuts the biopsy into pieces, isolates the different cell types, stimulates their growth and mixes the cells with collagen. A 3D reconstruction of the different skin layers is produced using gel matrix and.....the skin is ready. The final step is a machine packaging the cells for shipment. This can open up unlimited new possibilities for doctors who need skin tissue for their patients, and for researchers who need tissue for testing.
Published On: December 24, 2008