Burns and larger wounds that require skin grafting can be extremely costly and time-consuming. Wait times for receiving skin graft procedures sometimes are sometimes too long for a burn victim to survive their injuries. On November 21, 2016, RenovaCare announced the development of an ingenious device with results that claim to provide miraculous results for burn victims.
What is Skin Grafting?
Skin grafting is a surgical procedure in which skin or a skin substitute is placed over a burn or non-healing wound. According to the American Burn Association, there are more than 1 million burn injuries in the United States each year that require medical attention. Approximately 4,500 people die from burns each year in the United States.
Someone dies in a fire nearly every two hours on average in America alone and another person is injured every 23 minutes. As many as 10,000 Americans die every year of burn-related infections. The average size of a burn injury in a patient admitted to a burn center is approximately 14% of the total body surface area.
About 6% of patients admitted to burn centers do not survive. Today, patients can survive with burns covering up to about 90% of the body, although they often face permanent physical impairment. Skin grafting, like blood transfusion, relies on donors, but RenovaCare is making strides that may not require people to become skin donors for burn victims.
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Researchers from RenovaCare, Inc. have produced a device capable of isolating and spraying a patient’s own stem cells onto burns and wounds for very quick self-healing.
The company’s SkinGun™ provides an even distribution of fluids with 200 times greater coverage than conventional methods, according to tests conducted at Stem Cell Systems GmbH. The SkinGun™ has also demonstrated its ability to spray powerful yet delicate skin stem cells very carefully, without damaging the cells. Cell viability is essential for the regeneration of skin for burns, wounds, and cosmetic applications.
“We’ve achieved some impressive technical results to-date. The next steps for us are to advance our breakthrough technology towards market through the regulatory and clinical studies process,” said Thomas Bold who is president and CEO of RenovaCare.
What is unusual about the SkinGun™ is that it takes only a matter of days to see results. The short video below tells the story of one of the first burn victims to be treated with the SkinGun™, and the change is miraculous. Instead of facing months of skin grafting, his wounds had seemingly fully recovered in less than a week.
Watch this short video for more:
How Stem Cells Work
A stem cell is the building block of the human body, capable of dividing for long periods of time and developing from unspecialized to specialized cells. The earliest stem cells in the body are those found in the embryo before a baby is born. The stem cells inside the embryo eventually produce every tissue, cell, and organ, in the fetus’s body as the baby grows in the womb. The SkinGun™, however, uses adult stem cells from the patient themselves.
Unlike a regular cell, which only replicates to create more of its own kind (nerve, bone, blood, etc.), a stem cell is pluripotent, meaning that when it divides, it can make any one of the 220 different types of cells in the human body. Stem cells also have the capability to self-renew, meaning they can reproduce themselves many times over.
To grow stem cells, scientists culture them in a nutrient-rich solution in a Petri dish. The stem cells divide several times, and scientists divide the population into other dishes. After three months, there are millions of stem cells. If the cells continue to grow without differentiating, scientists have a stem cell line. Stem cells have provided researchers with groundbreaking treatment options. Now, with the SkinGun™, we have the possibility to regenerate our bodies’ largest organ in a very short time.
Since the SkinGun™ is in its early phases, it is not available for public use, and more research needs to be conducted on its long-term effects on human health. But it is possible that this burn-blasting device could be a significant step for medicine and technology.
- Teepe, R., Burger, A., & Ponec, M. (1994). Immunohistochemical studies on regeneration in cultured epidermal autografts used to treat full-thickness burn wounds. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 19(1), 16-22. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2230.1994.tb01108.x
- Saxon, A. (n.d.). Faculty of 1000 evaluation for Treatment of severe acute graft-versus-host disease with third party haploidentical mesenchymal stem cells. F1000 – Post-publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature. doi:10.3410/f.1018919.214456
- Das, B. (2014). Altruistic Stem Cells and Cancer Stem Cells. Cancer Stem Cells, 89-105. doi:10.1002/9781118356203.ch7
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