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Artificial Skin to Treat Severe Burns
February 3, 2010 20:43

Extensive burns are a very difficult thing to cure – the larger is damaged area, the harder it is to cover the wound. However, Russian medics recently saved two people, 98% of whose skin was burnt.

Russian cytologists are professionals in cultivating various cells, including human cells, and studying their properties. Department of Cell Cultures hosts a bank of dermal fibroblasts, stored in liquid nitrogen – 196 degrees below zero Centigrade. Ten years ago military medics came to cytologists and offered a challenge – to grow cells, which would be able to replace skin, when 30% of it and even more is destroyed by fire. Scientists thought it would be interesting and learnt to grow such cells and to make cell products (composites of cells and their protein metabolites), which are essential for injured skin healing. These cell products, which are not rejected by patient’s immune system, serve as a basis for growing of patient’s own skin. There are two types of such cell products – first one is derma equivalent and works like a foundation, hosting fibroblasts in collagen gel. These immobilized fibroblasts produce proteins and create framework for the second type of cells, keratinocytes, which comprise epidermis, upper skin layer, in other words. Bottom layer serves like a regulator, controlling division, movements and functioning of keratinocytes, Russian cytologists explain.



During investigation scientists found out an interesting fact – their creation helps not only patients with severe burns, but also those, who suffer from open trophic ulcers, fistulas, bed sores and any other serious skin defects.

“Artificial skin” from St Petersburg’s Institute of Cytology (Russian Academy of Sciences) has successfully passed clinical trials in Military Medical Academy, Burdenko hospital, science and research institute of emergency. Of course, before clinical trials, skin alternative has passed long-term compulsory technical and toxicological tests in Moscow Institute of Transplantology and Artificial Organs, which is the part of the Russian Ministry of Health. In 2002 the innovation has finally got its first official document – it was recommended for serial production and introduction into medical practice, as well as for registration as a medical purpose item as “Multilayer formation of keratinocytes – sterile epidermis analogue, sutable for transplantation over burnt surfaces”.

Four years ago – in 2006 – researchers received another official document from RosZdravNadzor (governmental structure, which monitors health institutions), which is a registration certificate on “dermal equivalent”. All mentioned documents allow scientists to legally supply their innovation to various medical institutions.

Researchers from Department of Cell Cultures also developed a special thermally controlled container for transportation of cell products. Scientists also offer courses for medics, where they teach how to deal with alternative skin and how to make it become part of a patient and help his wound to cure.

Source: Vechnaya molodost'

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian Scientists     

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