In search of new ways to treat severe burns that don’t involve skin grafts, scientists at the University of Toronto have been busy developing a handheld device that can print out large sheets of “bio ink” to boost the healing process.
A number of options already exist for burn victims, with skin grafts as the most common format for replacing skin. It involves removing the damaged skin and replacing it with healthy skin from another part of the body. However, skin grafts aren’t always possible in some extremely severe burn situations where both layers of skin are rendered useless.
This is where the novel device comes in. The need for skin grafts is entirely eliminated by depositing strips of special “bio ink” directly onto the wound. This “bio ink” contains healing proteins and mesenchymal stromal cells, which help the body’s immune system and increase cell growth.
After successfully testing the device, the team is now working on improving the technology to further limit scarring with the belief that the handheld skin printer could enter clinical use within the next five years.