A team of Chinese doctors reported in a recent issue ofArtificial Organs that skin they developed from neonatal foreskin heals wounds quickly and with minimal scarring.
Success stems from the youthful vigour of infants’ skin since neonatal epidermal cells are far more metabolically active than adult cells. The researchers took epidermal cells from neonatal foreskin and through a multi-step process, combined them in the lab with human fibroblasts and bovine collagen gel.Wounds treated with engineered skin healed six to twenty days faster than control wounds, depending on the wound type. Control wounds were treated with Vaseline and bandaged. Engineered skin also improved the appearance of wounds because it minimized scarring. The only apparent drawback of the new technique is temporary discolouration in the skin over the healed wounds. In most patients, normal colour returned within a few months.Dr. Yan Jin and his colleagues believe the tissue they developed so closely resembles human skin that it stimulated the patients’ natural healing. “We’re very pleased with how the wounds healed and looked,” said lead researcher Dr. Jin. “I think we’ll see a change in how wounds are treated.”(Source: Artificial Organs : Amy Molnar : Blackwell Synergy : December 2007)