A cutaneous breakthrough in bioengineering to revolutionize the treatment of burns

Researchers from the Alfred and the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences are developing bioengineered skin that will undergo a large trial in third degree burn patients, starting in 2023 .

The Director of the Victorian Adult Burns Center, Assistant Associate Professor Heather Cleland and Director of the Skin Bioengineering Laboratory, Assistant Associate Professor Shiva Akbarzadeh, spoke with the Sun Herald on advanced technique. Assistant Professor Cleland also spoke of ABC radio mornings program.

Assistant Professor Cleland said the breakthrough – more than 10 years in the works – will be tested in the unit in 2023.

“A successful trial will dramatically improve treatment results,” said A / Prof Cleland.

“Over 40 percent of burn survivors live with the pain and disability caused by scarring from skin grafts and their donor sites.

“The development of the skin graft substitute to be tested in this study will save lives and improve the quality of life of severe burn survivors by eliminating the need to use unburned patient skin for burn grafts.

“This allows us to treat severely burn patients with bioengineered skin grown in our lab, grown from small samples of their own skin. “

Despite many advances in treatment options, the traditional split skin graft as the primary method of closing burns has not changed for over 150 years.

Assistant Professor Shiva Akbarzadeh said the project, a collaboration between Alfred and Monash University, brings new hope to burn patients.

“We believe that by leveraging stem cell science and materials engineering, we can revolutionize the treatment of burns,” Prof. A / Akbarzadeh said.

“By making new skin from patients’ own activated stem cells, we will be able to repair deep wounds and minimize the need for donor skin.

“It also allows us to modify the skin designed as a treatment option for other skin loss conditions as we progress,” she said.

The project was built on collaborative research between stem cell scientists, severe burn surgeons and materials engineers.

“It’s really a bench-to-bed and back-to-bench story. Each step of the process was designed based on what we learned from our previous clinical trials and feedback from treating surgeons and patients. said Assistant Professor Akbarzadeh.

Burn surgeon Dr Cheng Lo said the breakthrough is another step in improving patient care.

“As part of the Victoria State Burn Service, the laboratory plays an important role in finding answers to difficult questions, ensuring that our clinical service delivery remains at the cutting edge and ensuring that our patients receive the best possible care, ”he said.

“This breakthrough is a great example. “

Learn more about the team’s research at www.monash.edu/medicine/ccs/surgery-alfred/research/skin-tissue-lab

About Antoine L. Cassell

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