New Skin Grafting Machine ‘Prints’ Sheets of Human Skin

The treatment for severe burns, injuries and skin damage is all set to be transformed by a new skin-developing machine produced by Swiss company Cutiss. Called denovoCast, the machine is a kind of hi-tech printer, which produces large sheets of new and healthy skin. They are then used to repair a wider area of damaged skin. Let’s see how it works.

The Extraction From Original Skin

Considered to be the world’s first machine to produce personalized skin, the denovoCast machine can grow large sizes of skin patches, even as big as the size of a dinner plate! These are made using the patient’s own healthy skin. For this process, a postage-stamp-sized skin patch is taken from the undamaged area of the body. From this little skin patch, doctors extract stem cells, which are called the ‘master’ cells. These master cells can be developed into new healthy tissue. Along with it, collagen and keratinocytes are also extracted. Collagen is the fibrous substance of the skin, which gives our skin its elasticity. Keratinocytes are a type of skin cell that stops bacteria from entering our skin and also makes the skin waterproof.

The Creation of New Skin

The first step in the process is to add a water-based gel into the extracted mixture. Then the mixture is fed into the DenovoCast machine, added with growth factors, which are natural substances of our body. It helps in stimulating the growth of new cells. The entire new skin development process is not a quick one. At least one month is needed to produce a large size of skin sheet from the lab-mixed solution, during which time it grows up to 100 times bigger than the original harvested area. This newly formed sheet of skin is then grafted onto the burnt damaged area of the patient. The newly grafted skin samples are currently undergoing clinical trials in Europe. Trial results are likely to come in next year, but the method is already in use for a few of the traumatic burn cases.