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Biotech Medicine

Wake Forest Researchers Swap Skin Grafts For Cell Spraying 123

Posted by timothy
from the they-probably-getcha-on-the-refills dept.
TigerWolf2 writes with this excerpt from a Reuters story carried by Yahoo: "Inspired by a standard office inkjet printer, US researchers have rigged up a device that can spray skin cells directly onto burn victims, quickly protecting and healing their wounds as an alternative to skin grafts. ... Tests on mice showed the spray system, called bioprinting, could heal wounds quickly and safely, the researchers reported at the Translational Regenerative Medicine Forum."
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Wake Forest Researchers Swap Skin Grafts For Cell Spraying

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  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:48PM (#31782294) Homepage
    In a sense, we've already outpaced science fiction. As recently as the 1990s, I enjoyed Larry Niven's Gil "the Arm" Hamilton stories (collected in Flatlander [amazon.com] ), which foresaw a future so dependent on organ transplants for longevity that even the simplest of crimes like jaywalking would get the death penalty. With China in the news at the time for executing prisoners and harvesting organs, that kind of dystopian future seemed completely plausible. Niven didn't foresee alloplasty (gadgets instead of organs) becoming an alternative for centuries. But already stem cell research, nanotechnology and tissue printing shows that we are jumping directly to modifying the human body through purely artificial means.
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:55PM (#31782394)
    As long as you're using printing technology to place cells over the wound, why not add pigments and voila! Instant tatoo!
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:01PM (#31782500) Homepage

    My little sister actually had a summer internship with the Wake Forest Center for Regenerative Medicine. One of the things she would do is basically give puncture wounds to mice. After this experience, she apparently didn't want to be a researcher anymore.

  • by Jimbookis (517778) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:20PM (#31782730)
    It's already been pioneered, done and patented by Fiona Woods here in Australia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiona_Wood [wikipedia.org]. But we all know the USians only give a crap about their own patents, no-one else's. Just look at the shit-fight CSIRO had to go through to get money out of companies in the USA to honour their WiFi related patents.
  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:31PM (#31783648)

    I once had a fascinating talk with a girl who worked at one of those labs and was given the job of killing the mice before they're analyzed.

    Apparently in that lab it was the job they gave to all the newbies when they first arrived.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:35PM (#31783686) Journal
    Yeah, while the premise is the same, implementations are not. The device being tested in the US is not the same as the delivery mechanism Woods uses, hence no invalidation for prior art.

    Besides, what Woods should really be recognized for is not the spray-on delivery, but instead the advances in culturing techniques. This was the real breakthrough, IMO.

    Of note, Woods got a lot of criticism for using her methods without it going through clinical trials. They're still not out of clinical trials, AFAIK...
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:26PM (#31784162) Journal

    They are required to test them on animals before humans, it's part of the job. It's not a part of the job they like, but it's necessary so they do it.

    At the risk of triggering Godwin's Law I feel I must point out that Animal Rights applied to a medical experiment context is what led the NAZIs, in about three steps, to medical experiments on concentration camp inmates.

    Step 1: To avoid experiments on animals the experiments were performed on "mentally defective" humans - i.e. inmates of mental hospitals, initially those who were believed to be so brain-damaged or mentally deficient that they were less aware than animals.

    Step 2: For politically convenient reasons, propaganda campaigns spread the idea that certain classes of people were subhuman - and by extension sub-animal: Jews, Gypsies, Communists, Anarchists, Labor Unionists, Gays, ...

    Step 3: Large numbers of the classes in Step 2. were, for the convenience of the war effort, incarcerated in concentration/labor camps (where their assignment was mainly to be out of the way, and dying was a "good" way to accomplish this). At this point, being used in medical experiments was a way to complete that assignment and contribute to "humanity" in the process...

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a very scary read. It shows that the NAZI movement started out with pretty much the full set of New Age Counterculture "virtues" (mysticism, animal rights, vegitarianism, body-beautiful health fads, back-to-nature, non-hierarchical consensus decision making, ...) and how these ideas coevolved into what now are considered such monsters that even looking at what they were like is considered anathema.

    (Another example: Consensus decision-making evolves into totalitarianism in the presence of the normal fraction of psychopaths. First diversity and dissent paralyze group action. Then social pressures for conformity are developed to break the deadlock. These grow to be nearly irresistible. Then an individual or small group withholds consent except when the rest of the population does what they want. Finally the population follows their new "leaders" automatically, since that's what will finally happen anyhow.)

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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