Friday, August 13, 2004
A New Use for Old Printers: Treating Burn Victims
Researchers in the US are using old inkjet printers to produce sheets of human skin to be used on burn victims. The printer cartridges are filled with living cells that are printed one by one into skin tissue. They think that this 'skin-printing' method will minimize rejections by patients and reduce post-operative complications. In this article, the Wall Street Journal (paid registration needed) writes that while the technology is still in its early stages, it could be used clinically within two years.
This could be a life-saving technology for the 20% of burn patients who have the most extensive burns. Considering that each year, some 45,000 people are hospitalized with burns in the U.S. alone, this 'skin-printing' method is a very useful advance in regenerative medicine. You'll find more details, previous references and an illustration in this overview.
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