Regenerative Medicine Breakthrough: Researchers Create BioPrinted Full Thickness Skin

October 5, 2023
Regenerative Medicine Breakthrough Researchers Create BioPrinted Full Thickness Skin image

A team out of Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine used cells and hydrogels to bioprint skin.

New bioprinted skin may accelerate wound healing, support healthy extracellular matrix remodeling, and aid in complete wound recovery, according to research out of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM). 

Available grafts are often temporary, or if permanent, have only some of the elements of normal skin, which often have a scarred appearance. The creation of full thickness skin has not been possible to date. This new study involved the bioprinting of all six major primary human cell types present in skin combined with specialized hydrogels as a bioink. Multi-layered full thickness skin was created which contained all three layers present in normal human tissue: epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. When transplanted in pre-clinical settings, the bioprinted skin formed blood vessels, skin patterns, and normal tissue formation. Additional arms of the study demonstrated improved wound closure, reduced skin contraction, and more collagen production to reduce scarring.

“These results show that the creation of full thickness human bioengineered skin is possible, and promotes quicker healing and more naturally appearing outcomes,” says Anthony Atala, MD, director of WFIRM, in a news release.

By leveraging existing bioprinting technology to address these limitations, the team at WFIRM has proven that fully functional skin regeneration is possible. The bioengineered skin grafts offer a triple-layer structure for full-thickness wound coverage.

The study is published in Science Translational Medicine

PHOTO CAPTION: WFIRM researchers use cells and hydrogels as bioinks to 3D print human skin.

PHOTO CREDIT: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

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