Full-thickness skin wounds caused by severe injuries or burns are a substantial clinical challenge in the United States, affecting nearly half a million people annually and costing billions of dollars to treat. The current standard treatment involves autologous skin grafting, which relies on harvesting healthy skin from the patient's body. However, this approach has limitations, particularly when there is limited healthy donor skin available. According to a recent Interesting Engineering article, scientists from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have successfully developed bioprinted skin that mimics the properties of natural human skin.
The development has the potential to be used in the treatment of severe skin injuries, burns, and wounds. The bioprinted skin consists of all three layers found in human skin: hypodermis, epidermis, and dermis. To test its effectiveness, the team transplanted bioprinted pig skin grafts onto full-thickness wounds in pigs, resulting in improved wound closure and skin regeneration. The researchers believe that this breakthrough represents a significant advancement in the field of bioengineering for skin substitutes, and it could have promising applications for human clinical use in the future.