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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 Anonymous Coward

    Spray-on skin. Printed blood vessels. Nanobot-delivered cancer killers. Wasn't all this science fiction just a few decades ago?

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Right now its still in the lab, along with everything else you mentioned.

      I would say that it is still science fiction today.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        It's in the lab. That it exists at all puts it out of fiction and into reality.

      • by Kelz (611260)
        Fiction means not real, as opposed to "not yet in mass production and perfectly tuned".
        • by Jeng (926980)

          So I guess Jules Verne never did write science fiction since just about everything he wrote about was being worked on by the scientific community?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CRCulver (715279)
      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)
      • Niven's dystopian landscape in this case should not be mistaken for a genuine prediction. I enjoyed the book, but honestly Niven's intention in this case was surely no more than to create an entertaining story!

        • by CRCulver (715279)
          The collection I mentioned above contains an afterword by Niven about how, in the mid-1990s, some of what he predicted seemed to be finally coming true. Of course Niven liked to create a good story, but in this case he was trying to be prescient.
          • Ok, sure, 90's and even early noughties. But seriously second-hand organs can't be a growth market for more than a handful of years,

  • The Team Fortress II medigun technology is revealed!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by JavaBasedOS (1217930)
      Surgeon General's Warning: Prolonged exposure to this spray may result in one's skin gaining a metallic blue or red sheen. Yellowing of the eyes may occur.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:35PM (#31782180)

    ... will bankrupt you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's nice that the summary failed to mention the first person to achieve this was Dr Fiona Wood [wikipedia.org] from Perth.

    • It's nice that the summary failed to mention the first person to achieve this was Dr Fiona Wood [wikipedia.org] from Perth.

      Probably because the article doesn't mention it, either.

    • by reverseengineer (580922) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:23PM (#31783576)
      There's a lot of work being done in this area right now- with good reason; there's tremendous potential, and the advance highlighted here is more of an incremental step in a rapidly maturing field than a breakthrough. As the parent notes, Dr. Fiona Wood pioneered a spray-on cell suspension over 15 years ago. She eventually founded a company (now called Avita Medical) which has commercialized this technology. [avitamedical.com] In the last decade, it has been discovered that with minimal modification, an off-the-shelf inkjet printer can print living cells- this article is an example. [sciencedirect.com]

      The story here from Wake Forest is apparently a successful test of using an inkjet to print directly on wounds using multiple cell types. The group reported these results at the Translational Regenerative Medicine Forum [regenerati...dation.org] which took place the last few days. Who else happened to be at that forum? Avita Medical, where Dr. Wood still sits on the board.
  • by falken0905 (624713) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:43PM (#31782244)
    Your fibroblasts cartridge is low. Would you like to connect to the HP Medical Printing website to order refills?
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:43PM (#31782246) Journal
    Looks like it cuts down on scarring as well, and it seems that grafting requires adding an additional injury from the donor section. Seems sensible not to do this.
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Hmm. Refine this enough and I could see this being used to remove scars and blemishes.

      Cut out the offending patch and slap on something new.

      Definitely a boon for skin cancer too. Just excise (er... ok, flay) the area and spray on a replacement. Of course, we'd need to do this in layers since it's usually more than the top layers here.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Red Flayer (890720)

        Just excise (er... ok, flay) the area and spray on a replacement

        Finally! My true calling is found.

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "Hmm. Refine this enough and I could see this being used to remove scars and blemishes.

        Cut out the offending patch and slap on something new."

        Cut out the tattoo and print a new one.

  • 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!
    • As long as you're using printing technology to place cells over the wound, why not add pigments and voila! Instant tatoo!

      I'm not a skin expert, it's my understanding that the top layer of skin cells are completely dead and sloughing off, so you couldn't just spray pigment onto healthy skin and expect it do do anything besides rub off. More likely, you'd have to remove the epidermis if you were doing this intentionally and not as a skin graft (in which case the skin has been removed and that's the problem.)

      So it wouldn't be instant, you'd have to burn off the skin, which would be far more painful than a regular tattoo.

      Anyway,

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why doesn't this article have a "Darkman" tag?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      "My face burned off and all I got was this stupid tatoo"?
    • Burn victims across the globe rejoice...
      And then cringe in pain
  • The hometown of Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, has a whole section of its downtown devoted to start-ups developing new cutting edge medical technology. Ironically it is the same location where cigarettes were cranked out by the billions.

    • by Yhippa (443967)
      Especially interesting at a Baptist university. I'm pretty ignorant as is but I never would have pegged WFU to do something this cool.

      Oh yeah: ACC! ACC! ACC!
  • The new mace. Spray the mugger a new pair of sealed-shut eyelids.
  • It wasn't much fun to be those mice.

  • I mean seriously, DAMN, this is like, Star Trek level shit. Seriously. Spray on skin? What next? I love the 21st century.
  • I've been playing too much Borderlands.. While reading the article a voice kept screaming in my head: "Strip the flash! Salt the wounds!"

  • Print your own penis extension. Erg, I hope they don't use mouse cell for mine! Hmmm, maybe donkey cells or...?
  • I want my bouncy Kzin.
  • by AP31R0N (723649)

    a bad place to be anything other than human. Though it can also suck to be human.

  • Do a search for "institute for regenerative medicine" and see how many of these now exist.

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