NEW DELHI : A team led by an Indian-origin scientist has developed a way to 3D print living skin, complete with blood vessels—a significant step towards creating grafts that are more like natural skin.
Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting combines cells, growth factors and biomaterials to fabricate biomedical parts that imitate the characteristics of a natural tissue.
“Right now, whatever is available as a clinical product is more like a fancy Band-Aid,” said Pankaj Karande, an associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US.
“It provides some accelerated wound healing, but eventually it just falls off; it never really integrates with the host cells,” said Karande, who led the research published in the journal Tissue Engineering Part A.
Researchers noted that a significant barrier to that integration has been the absence of a functioning vascular system in the skin grafts.
They found that if they add key elements with animal collagen and other structural cells typically found in a skin graft, the cells start communicating.