Did you know the skin is the largest organ in the body? So when a person suffers from severe burns or other serious wounds it’s important to ensure the most effective treatment options are available. A new innovation by RenovaCare, SkinGun, could change the way burns and serious wounds are treated. RenovaCare focuses on developing autologous stem cell therapies for the regeneration of human of human organs. SkinGun “gently sprays skin cells that grow to form new skin on burn injuries,” according to Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry.
SkinGun was acquired by RenovaCare in 2013, and was invented by Jorg Gerlach, a professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburg. Skingun uses a small square of healthy skin approximately the size of a postage stamp to isolate the patient’s stem cells. Then, the stem cells are put in a water-based solution, CellMist, and gently sprayed on the wound. The entire procedure takes about 90 minutes, which is crucial when time is of the essence when dealing with severe burns. After application, the cells begin to differentiate and form new skin. It takes the stem cells several days to form skin that looks and functions like the patient’s original skin. SkinGun’s capabilities don’t stop at burns and wounds. Skin defects and diseases, such as vitiligo, could also be treated using this technology. SkinGun has yet to progress to the point of being able to treat third degree burns because these types of burns rob the individual of their epidermis and demris skin levels.
Many procedures used to treat serious wounds have a lengthy recovery time, and if a patient has to have skin graft surgery complications may arise, such as infection. Skin graft surgery can take hours, and often leads to a long recovery process. Grafted skin also requires two areas of skin to heal, rather than one, due to a piece of healthy skin being transplanted to the area of burnt skin on the body. This can lead to scarring and make it difficult to regain complete joint movement, often resulting in many patients relying on physical therapy.
SkinGun has treated patients in Berlin as part of an experimental trial. Since Skingun is still in the development stage it has not been approved for use in the United States. SkinGun isn’t the only innovation changing the way doctors could treat wounds in the future. In the past, we blogged about how hydrogel could be used in wound dressings and internal medical devices. There’s no denying how cool these latest advancements are – especially when we are talking about healing the largest organ in the body!