Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a method to create a living skin complete with blood vessels using 3D printing.
This innovative method, published on November 1 in the journal Tissue Engineering Part A, is an important step in creating skin-like pieces that our bodies naturally make.
According to Pankaj Karande, Associate Professor of Biotechnology and Chemistry, a member of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Research (CBIS) and head of the research at Rensselaer, " Currently , we have the same clinical product as a familiar medical tape that provides some quick healing, but eventually it falls off, never really integrating. with host cells ".
There is actually a transfer of blood and nutrients to the graft and keeping the graft alive.
According to him, a significant obstacle to the integration is the absence of an active vascular system in skin grafts.
Associate Professor Karande has carried out this challenge for many years. Earlier, early papers showed that researchers could take two types of living human cells, turn them into "biological ink" and print them into a skin-like structure. Since then, he and his team have worked with researchers from Yale Medical School to combine skin with blood vessels.
In this paper, the researchers show that if they add key factors, including human endothelial cells (located inside blood vessels) and human pericyte cells (encapsulate cells) endothelial cells), with animal collagen and other structural cells commonly found in a skin graft, cells begin to communicate and form biologically related blood vessel structures within a few week.
"As engineers working to regenerate biology, we always appreciate and are aware of the fact that biology is far more complex than the simple systems we create in the lab , " he said. Karande said. "We were surprised to find that once we began to approach that complexity, biology continued and began getting closer and closer to what exists in nature."
When the Yale Medical School team grafted it on a special type of mouse, the skin-based circuits printed by the Rensselaer Academy team began to communicate and connect with the mouse's blood vessels.
It is extremely important, because we know that there is actually a transfer of blood and nutrients to the graft and is keeping the graft alive, according to Mr. Karande.
In order for this method to be clinically usable, researchers need to be able to edit donor cells using CRISPR technology so that the circuits can integrate and be sick. multiply accepted.
'We are not yet at that step, but we are taking one step closer,' Mr. Karande said.
Deepak Vashishth, CBIS director said: "This important development highlights the enormous potential of 3D biotechnology in medicine, where solutions can be adapted for specific situations and "This is a perfect example of how the engineers at Rensselaer are addressing human health challenges."
Prof Karande said more work would be needed to address the challenges associated with burn patients, including loss of nerve endings and blood vessels. But the pieces his team made brought the researchers closer to helping people with more specific problems, such as diabetes-induced ulcers or sores due to staying in bed for too long.
According to Mr. Karande, for these patients, this method would be perfect, because the ulcers often appear in different places on the body and can be resolved with smaller pieces of skin. Wound healing usually takes more time in diabetics and this can also help speed up that process.