Burn Therapy: A Regenerative Medicine Approach

By Live Dr - Sun Feb 06, 1:08 pm

Burn Therapy: A Regenerative Medicine Approach

It has been likened to an overfed starfish.  In reality, however, what may look like just a yellow plastic thing is actually a bioreactor—a 3-dimensional breeding ground for cells—which much improves upon the 2-dimensional petri dish.  Applications for bioreactors include growing pancreas, liver, bone marrow, neuronal, skin, and cancer stem cells for research and therapeutic purposes.  The combination of the bioreactor to grow cells, a unique cell spraying system, and a “wound cap” offer potentially new therapies for burn victims.

The Bioreactor Group, led by McGowan Institute faculty member Joerg Gerlach, MD, PhD, Professor in the Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, currently collaborates with national and international scientists with this novel research tool.

As noted, regenerating skin cells is but one of the many applications associated with a bioreactor.  Dr. Gerlach’s bioreactor technology serves as part of an alternative approach to mend skin damaged by burns and abrasion-type injuries. Recent press (Newsweek and Popular Science) has highlighted Dr. Gerlach’s “skin gun”—one part of his 3-phase skin burn disease therapy.  Also, in early 2008, both the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative and the U. S. Department of Defense funded Dr. Gerlach’s efforts to further this burn repair application.

Dr. Gerlach’s skin burn disease therapy combines his bioreactor technologies with a cell spraying device—skin gun—that he and his colleagues have developed to mend burned skin.  The expected protocol when a patient arrives at a hospital missing a sizable portion of skin would be as follows: Surgeons take a sample from a healthy piece of skin and isolate skin cells, including skin stem cells, using a method Gerlach and his colleagues developed.

Then the skin gun comes into play. A surgeon loads the stem cells into a sterile syringe, loads the syringe into the nozzle like a cartridge, and sprays the cells through the nozzle directly onto the wound.

“What we’re doing is taking the cells, isolating them, and, in the same procedure on the same day, we’re putting the cells onto the wound,” Dr. Gerlach says. “The progenitor cells can act immediately. The most critical cells are present, and we are using those cells right away from the patient. We just need to take care that we are distributing the cells nicely over the wound.”  Hence, the spray nozzle.

Lastly, the other essential part of the Gerlach process is an innovative wound dressing.  Enmeshed in what looks like a traditional dressing are tubes that are part of another bioreactor. Tubes extend from each end of the dressing—one does the work of an artery, the other a vein. When connected to an “artificial vascular system” the bioreactor bandage distributes glucose, sugar, amino acids, antibiotics, and electrolytes to the treated area. It cleans the wound, provides nutrition, and better supports the precious stem cells in the wound until they start to grow and regenerate new skin for the patient.

Dr. Gerlach reports that the procedure has been performed successfully at the Berlin Burn Center where patients have regrown skin over a burned ear or an entire face in a matter of days.  This new method of regrowing skin improves on the current method:  Doctors harvest skin cells and send them to an external lab where they are grown in approximately 1-3 weeks into a sheet of new skin.  The new sheet of skin is then sent back to the hospital to be attached to the wound where blisters caused by secretions under the attached skin can push the sheet up and damage it.  In contrast, by spraying single cells and allowing them to enter the wound to reproduce right then and there, outcomes for patients should be greatly improved.

Illustrations:  McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.


Comments -49 - 0 of 10First« PrevNext »Last
  1. I have never tried Greek Yogourt yet but have heard a lot of good things about it. Typically I eat my yogurt plain but sometimes like it with frhic.ontariohappycuitk at gmail dot com

  2. ron jeremy paved the porn road for many.the fact that he can consistently perform is amazing.it is difficult for a male to be in the industry, getting hard, staying hard, cumming on cue, in front of a bunch of people is no easy feat.ron is a legend, a porn super star.

  3. qu’un couteau, c’est pas vraiment difficile a trouver. Le M16 par contre…Il y a des tarés, il y en a toujours eu, il y en aura toujours. Regardez l’autrichien qui a sequestre sa fille pendant 24 ans et eu 7 enfants avec elle. Cet homme-la ne joue pas aux jeux-video. Son comportement depasse juste l’entendement.Au moins avec GTA, on se marre bien et ca ne fait de mal a personne.Je serais plus inquiet de voir mon fils devenir un pervers delinquant sexuel decerebre parce qu’il regarde trop souvent Cauet et Dechavanne a la tele.

  4. ramble on..giati ohi???? …….to mono sigouro ine oti den tha lene den kano afto…den kano to allo…ti ine afta pou zitas na kano anomale…kai tetia… hahaha

  5. Typically the D is ahead of the O early on in the season, so your flip flop doesn’t make a lot of sense. We get the same amount of time to prepare for them too and we have the COY on our side. GB’s D wasn’t all that good last year so we will score…how will they contain us?

  6. Oops! Thanks, Peter–and for your replies to my other posts as well. And especially for your encouragement. It means so much.I hadn’t thought about justifying right–not sure how to do that in WordPress, but someone will know. Thanks for the suggestion. I think you’re probably right about that, especially for the blockquotes.Blessings, Cindy

  7. Now that I think about it, it is actually quite disgusting. Mr. Lee can be her dad for god sake. *puking*Her oral English is ok. Pretty good for someone born and raised in HK.

  8. pisze:chodzi o to, że teraz baby strasznie chcÄ… być medialne, jak już nie ma miejsca dla nich w kolorowych pisemkach to wÅ‚ażą do polityki……a mi siÄ™ to jakoÅ› przyjęło, że jak widzÄ™ babkÄ™ o peÅ‚nych ksztaÅ‚tach, to mówiÄ™ sobie – ta to ma parytety

  9. If you were, in fact, a “cold, hard bitch,” it was his job to understand the reasons why and to help you. I understand how awful you feel, but you’re better off shifting to someone who knows how to work with you.

  10. and the scams that he scamed, for the naive people who are at TICC, that the spirit of wisdom of God, to fall upon them, that their eyes be opened to see the truth. I pray the Ephesians chapter one over ever single one of them who still believe the lies that Peter spews. Dear Lord God, bring down your justice, I pray….Amen.

Comments -49 - 0 of 10First« PrevNext »Last

Leave a Reply