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New technique develops 3D skin grafts that can be transplanted like a biological clothing


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Researchers developed a sophisticated technique to create three-dimensional bioengineered skin grafts.

Constructs resemble clothing, pulled over damaged tissue.

Apart from ease of application, method enables personalized constructs that are tailored for each patient.

“...dramatically minimize suturing, reduce length of surgeries, and improve aesthetic outcomes,” - Hasan Erbil Abaci, study researcher.

Approach involves:

- laser scanning the area of the graft application.

- computer-aided design to create a hollow glove-like construct.

- 3D printing a biomaterial substrate in required shape, and seeding it with connective tissue proteins (collagen) and skin fibroblasts.

- Seeding keratinocytes on the outside to form the epidermis layer.

- After the culture period, the graft can be slipped onto the injured area.

“A 3D fully enclosed shape would more closely mimic our natural skin and be stronger mechanically,” said Abaci.

Study by Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center published in Science Advances.

Grafts fit perfectly to any complex body part and can also be tailored for each patient

Mentioned in this article:

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Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC)

Columbia University's Medical Center.

Hasan Erbil Abaci

Assistant Professor at Department of Dermatology at Columbia University.

Science Advances

Journal that publishes original research and reviews in all disciplines of science