Bioprinting Skin Directly Onto a Wound

Bioprinting directly onto the body seems a logical evolution of the state of the art in this part of the field, given the emerging ability to bioprint full thickness skin, or at least a living structure very close to that. It is interesting to consider how bioprinting in situ could be made to work for internal organs. We might envisage something akin to keyhole surgery with a machine-guided printing head. The easier initial applications might include printing a patch of tissue directly onto the heart, akin to the present development of heart patches that are grown outside the body and then transplanted. The Lygenesis approach of liver or thymus organoids inside lymph nodes might also be amenable to this sort of evolution, given suitable printing hardware.

Imagine a day when a bioprinter filled with a patient's own cells can be wheeled right to the bedside to treat large wounds or burns by printing skin, layer by layer, to begin the healing process. That day is not far off. Scientists have created such a mobile skin bioprinting system - the first of its kind - that allows bi-layered skin to be printed directly into a wound. Affecting millions of Americans, chronic, large or non-healing wounds such as diabetic pressure ulcers are especially costly because they often require multiple treatments.

The major skin cells - dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes - are easily isolated from a small biopsy of uninjured tissue and expanded. Fibroblasts are cells that synthesize the extracellular matrix and collagen that play a critical role in wound healing while keratinocytes are the predominant cells found in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. The cells are mixed into a hydrogel and placed into the bioprinter. Integrated imaging technology involving a device that scans the wound, feeds the data into the software to tell the print heads which cells to deliver exactly where in the wound layer by layer. The bioprinter deposits the cells directly into the wound, replicating the layered skin structure, and accelerating the formation of normal skin structure and function.

The researchers demonstrated proof-of-concept of the system by printing skin directly onto pre-clinical models. The next step is to conduct a clinical trial in humans. "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."

Link: https://school.wakehealth.edu/Research/Institutes-and-Centers/Wake-Forest-Institute-for-Regenerative-Medicine/Awards-Honors-and-Media-Coverage/Mobile-Bedside-Bioprinter-Can-Heal-Wounds

Comments

I would say that the moment we have of the shelf immuno compatible stem cells this approach could take off. Before that it would be highly experimental and quite pricy

Posted by: Cuberat at March 7th, 2019 7:52 AM

When will it be possible to rejuvenate skin to make a 50 year old look 25?

Posted by: RS at March 7th, 2019 11:57 AM

@RS
if we are looking only for superficial and cosmetic effects it might be possible even now, at least to some degree. If you don't look too closely;)

A "true" rejuvenated soon would require getting rid of senecent cells, age sports, scars and restore the collagen elasticity and thickness. Probably also repaired blood supply and, probably leaver and some other parts of the body...

Posted by: Cuberat at March 7th, 2019 1:32 PM

We need skin rejuvenation as soon as possible.
Skin starts to go downhill at 25, and no one looks young after 50.

You can keep your health in good shape even in your 70s, but there is no way to keep a young look.

Posted by: RS at March 7th, 2019 5:17 PM

@RS
Up to 35 the skin is quite good. But one can argue that event after 16-17 there is some slight degradation ( hence the fashion models are basically teenagers). At 27 the first facial wrinkles appear. Some young men cold lose their hair ( even before turning 20).

But all this is, apart of the looks and bruised ego, quite harmless compared to the wear and tear of much older age...

If course, fixing the looks might attract more financing than the internal state...

Posted by: Cuberat at March 7th, 2019 7:37 PM

Also in males there is also the non-aging related phenomenon of androgenic bone expansion. Basically, what happens is that androgens modify the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts on certain bone surfaces. So as a simple example, on the long bones such as those present in the arms, it causes an increase in osteoblast activity on the outside of the bones and an increase in osteoclast activity in the inside, causing the bones to expand. In other bones the effect is more complex but the same general idea, with the net result that as time goes on the skeleton acquires a more and more "bloated" appearance. To really notice this effect, just compare the fingers of a 20 year old male with those of a 70 year old male - the difference is quite striking. What this basically means, is that even if you were to completely rejuvenate a 70 year old male, they'd still look basically 70, just 70 with nicer skin and more hair. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to reverse this process - conceptually it should be pretty simple; genetically engineer osteoblasts and osteoclasts to react to androgens in the opposite way to how they normally would - i.e. activating where they'd normally be inhibited and vice versa, but I don't know how tricky it would actually be in practice.

Posted by: Arcanyn at March 8th, 2019 4:05 AM

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