While skin grafts are an essential tool for treating severe burns, Avita Medical has developed a compact kit that grows replacement skin that can be sprayed on. Which has resulted in faster healing and better cosmetic results in patient testing.
Instead of growing patches of skin that can be draped over severely burned areas, the ReCell kit uses a small sample of the patient's keratinocytes and melanocytes skin cells that quickly reproduce in a special suspension solution. Where as growing actual pieces of skin in a lab can take weeks, the ReCell kit only needs about half an hour to produce enough cells to cover an area about 80 times as large as the original sample. A special nozzle is then used to spray the new cells over the burn area, where they continue to grow and multiply, in effect using the patient as an incubator.
Because the new cells have been grown from the patient's own cells, there is no risk of the body rejecting them, and no risk of getting a disease from a donor. And not only is the application process faster than with skin grafts, it's also been found to help burn wounds heal quicker which reduces the amount of scarring that occurs, improving the final cosmetic results. While already approved for sale and use in Europe, Australia and Canada, the ReCell system is still under clinical investigation in the US, and there's no word on when it might be finally available. [ReCell via Popular Science]