Growing Artificial Skin From Umbilical Cord Cells

Here is news of one of a number of approaches to building bioartificial skin. As for many organs, a replacement doesn't have to be exactly the same as natural tissue. Rather it just has to be capable of at least some of the functions provided by natural tissue in order to be both beneficial and useful.

Spanish scientists [have] managed, for the first time, to grow artificial skin from stem cells of umbilical cord. [This study] shows the ability of Wharton jelly mesenschymal stem cells to turn to oral-mucosa or skin-regeneration epithelia. To grow the artificial skin, the researchers have used, in addition this new type of epithelia covering, a biomaterial made of fibrin and agarose.

One of the problems major-burn victims currently have is that, in order to apply the current techniques of artificial skin, a number of weeks are needed. That is because the skin needs to be grown from parts of the patient's healthy skin. "Creating this new type of skin using stem cells, which can be stored in tissue banks, means that it can be used instantly when injuries are caused, and which would bring the application of artificial skin forward many weeks."


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