#UofT; #Research; Handheld3DSkinPrinter; #HealLargeBurnWounds; #GameChanger
Toronto, Feb 20 (Canadian-Media): Researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC) developed a handheld 3D skin printer which can deposit sheets of skin to cover large burn wounds, media reports said.
Handheld 3D skin printer. Image credit: Twitter
The bio ink dispensed by the roller of the handheld 3D skin printer is composed of mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs) which can can accelerate the healing process, promotes skin regeneration and reduces scarring,
Created by a team from U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, the device covers wounds with a uniform sheet of biomaterial, stripe by stripe. is composed MSC material .
Richard Cheng, the leader of the project and a PhD candidate in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Axel Guenther, an associate professor in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering.
Axel Guenther (left) and Richard Cheng (right). Image credit: Twitter
Close collaboration of this project was provided by Marc Jeschke, director of the Ross Tilley Burn Centre and a professor in U of T’s Faculty of Medicine, and his team at Sunnybrook.
Their successful in-vivo trials on full-thickness wounds are reported in the journal Biofabrication.
Unveiling of the first prototype of the skin printer in 2018 by this research is a major step forward for the team. The capacity of the device to deposit and set in place in two minutes or less was believed to be the first of its kind to form tissue in situ.
“Previously, we proved that we could deposit cells onto a burn, but there wasn’t any proof that there were any wound-healing benefits – now we’ve demonstrated that,” Guenther says.
The method of care for burns used currently is autologous skin grafting, which requires transplantation of healthy skin from other parts of the body onto the wound.
But large, full-body burns or full-thickness burns are challenging as in these cases the both the outermost and innermost layers of the skin are destroyed and these burns often cover a significant portion of the body.
“With big burns, you don’t have sufficient healthy skin available, which could lead to patient deaths,” says Jeschke.
The current prototype includes a single-use microfluidic printhead which ensures sterilization and a soft wheel that follows the track of the printhead, allowing for better control for wider wounds.
The team, says Cheng, is aiming to “further reduce the amount of scarring, on top of helping with wound healing. Our main focus moving forward will be on the in-vivo side.”
The handheld skin printer, believes Jeschke could be seen in a clinical setting within the next five years and added that once it is used in an operating room, this printer will be a game changer in saving lives. and change the entirety of how burn and trauma care are practiced.