Bioengineering Skin

An example of present work in growing skin from stem cells: scientists "are participating in research to study how to make use of the potential for auto regeneration of stem cells from skin, in order to create, in the laboratory, a patient's entire cutaneous surface by means of a combination of biological engineering and tissue engineering techniques. Skin is a tissue that naturally renews itself throughout our lives thanks to the existence of epidermic stem cells. ... We have found that this regenerative potential can be preserved in vitro (in the laboratory) if the cells are joined and become part of generated skin using tissue bioengineering techniques. ... The researchers have already been able to join together these epidermic stem cells into skin created by means of bioengineering, and they have observed that the cells preserve the regenerative potential that they normally have in our skin. That is, using a small biopsy from a specific patient, they can generate almost the entire cutaneous surface of that individual in the lab. ... The regenerative capacity of epidermic stem cells in these conditions is overwhelming, and it leads to the possibility of using these cells as a target for even more complex protocols, such as gene therapy. ... In fact, these researchers have already demonstrated, at the pre-clinical level, that it is possible to isolate epidermic stem cells from patients with different genetic skin diseases, cultivate them and, using molecular engineering as a first step, incorporate the therapeutic genes into each patient's genome to take the place of the one that the patient does not have or that functions abnormally. Afterwards, in the second step, the stem cells would be assembled into patches ready to be transplanted onto the patients."



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