New Mobile Bioprinting Technology for Improved Wound Healing


Scientists from Wake Forest School of Medicine, North Carolina, have developed a bioprinting system which allows for bi-layered skin to be printed directly onto wounds according to a study published in the journal in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Millions of people are affected by chronic, large, or non-healing wounds. Their early and effective treatment is essential for healthy healing and prevention of hypertrophic scarring. The commonly used split-thickness autograft technique is often limited by the availability of healthy donor skin to harvest. As an alternative treatment option, clinicians can use cellular and non-cellular biological skin-equivalents. However, these treatments usually involve multiple surgical procedures and they are associated with repeated hospitalization and high costs.

The novel bioprinting technology uses a patient’s own cells from uninjured skin tissue which are then grown in the lab and mixed with a hydrogelto generate a bioink to put into the bioprinter. Using built in imaging technology, the wound is scanned and translated into data which the software uses to tell the printer which cells to deliver and where. The printer then delivers cells directly into the would, thereby accelerating the formation of normal skin structure and function.

“If you deliver the patient’s cells, they do actively contribute to wound healing by organizing up front to start the healing process much faster,” – said James Yoo, MD, Ph.D., who led the research team. “While there are other types of wound healing products available to treat wounds and help them close, those products do not contribute directly to the creation of skin.”

“The unique aspect of this technology is the mobility of the system and the ability to provide on-site management of extensive wounds by scanning and measuring them in order to deposit the cells directly where they are needed to create skin.”- said WFIRM assistant professor, Sean Murphy, Ph.D.

“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,” – said WFIRM Director Anthony Atala, MD. “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.”

The novel method has been tested in pre-clinical models. Next, the research group will be conducting clinical trials in humans.




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