A British biotechnology company has developed a long-lasting artificial skin that has produced promising results in healing wounds in early clinical trials.
Scientists said the advance could mark a breakthrough in regenerative medicine.
Laboratory-made living skin was fully and consistently integrated into the human body, Intercytex Group Plc, which specializes in cell therapy, said on Tuesday.
The new skin appears to work better than previous skin substitutes that biodegrade in situ after a few weeks.
Heals in 28 days
The results of the trials, published in the journal Regenerative Medicine, showed that the artificial skin, ICX-SKN, was fully integrated after 28 days, producing a closed and healed wound site.
Intercytex now plans to test ICX-SKN on larger wounds and move on to pivotal clinical trials that would generate sufficient data to seek a marketing license.
Current best practice for serious wounds is to use a skin graft taken from a different part of the patient's own body - but this is a painful process and creates a new wound.
ICX-SKN is made up of a matrix produced by the same skin cells - fibroblasts - that are responsible for laying down the collagen in natural skin. The fibroblasts weave a structure which mimics that found in skin.
A real breakthrough
Stephen Minger, an expert in cell biology at King's College London, said the results marked "a real breakthrough" in wound healing and regenerative medicine in general.
"To have an off-the-shelf skin replacement product that can be used in large numbers of patients will revolutionise the treatment of burned and skin damaged patients," he said.
Intercytex founder Paul Kemp hopes to develop a range of cell-based implants that can regenerate lost tissue. – (ReutersHealth)
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