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Healing wounds with 3D print

Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) have developed a new form of 3D printing system which allows bi-layered skin to be printed directly into a wound.

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A mobile bioprinter which can 3D print skin cells has been developed

The technology, which will see a patient’s own cells used to print skin layer by layer to begin the skin healing process, was designed to treat large or non-healing wounds such as diabetic pressure ulcers, which often require multiple treatments.

“Fibroblasts are cells that synthesise the extracellular matrix and collagen that play a critical role in wound healing while keratinocytes are the predominant cells found in epidermis, the outer layer of the skin,” explains the university.

The process involves mixing the cells into a hydrogel and placing them into the bioprinter. Integrated imaging technology scans the wound and feeds data into the software to tell the printheads which cells to deliver exactly where in the wound, layer by layer.

The technology has the potential to eliminate the need for painful skin grafts

The research, which was funded by the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Centre, has currently only been demonstrated on pre-clinical models, however the university says it will be trialling on humans in a clinical trial soon.

Anthony Atala, director of WFIRM says: “The technology has the potential to eliminate the need for painful skin grafts that cause further disfigurement for patients suffering from large wounds or burns.

“A mobile bioprinter that can provide on-site management of extensive wounds could help to accelerate the delivery of care and decrease costs for patients.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter.

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