Skin Cell Gun

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The skin cell gun is an experimental device for the treatment of second degree burns developed by Jorg C. Gerlach and colleagues of the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Stem cells from a biopsy of the patient's healthy skin are isolated, placed into a sterile syringe with a fitted nozzle, and sprayed directly through the nozzle into the wound. Using computer precision, the gun distributes cells at a uniform velocity throughout the wound. Then, a temporary artificial wound capillary system is applied. A tube is attached to each end of the dressings, one doing the work of an artery and the other of a vein. A bioreactor is attached to this artificial vascular system to provide nutrition such as glucose, sugar, amino acids, antibiotics and electrolytes; and support the fragile skin stem cells until they start to grow and generate new skin. The newly introduced stem cells are able to regenerate and differentiate into their respective parts in a matter of days. The first phase of gathering the patient’s stem cells, creating a solution, and applying the stem cells takes approximately 1.5–2 hours. Within a week, the wound dressing procedure allows the stem skin cells to fully generate normal skin, and after a couple of months the skin regains its color and texture. Whereas it takes mere hours to prepare and administer stem cells with the stem cell gun, it takes 2–3 weeks to produce a skin sheet and harvest it from an external lab. Once the skin sheet has been attached to the wound, blisters form under the newly attached skin, pushing the sheet up, damaging the wound and increasing the risk of infection. The skin cell gun applies its stem cells directly to the patient's cells, which alleviates the concern of further tissue damage. The artificial vascular system network also provides a reliable source of protection to the skin stem cells. After the wound has been treated, it takes months for the skin sheet to heal over, yet only days for the skin cell gun to fulfill its function. Reducing the fragility of the cells and time frame of the operation by cleverly employing differentiated stem skin cells in such a way that offers a renewable source of replacement is an essential component of the skin cell gun’s capability. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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