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SkinGun helps burn victims quickly regrow skin by spraying them with their own stem cells

The Skin Gun
Get burned over the weekend? RenovaCare has got your back. The New York-based biotech company has expertise in stem cells and organ regeneration, and has brought these skills to bear on wound care. One of the company’s most promising methods uses a literal skin gun to spray skin stem cells on a burn or chronic wound to promote rapid healing. The healing is so rapid that you can walk into the hospital with a burn on a Friday night and return on Monday largely healed.

The skin gun process uses a patient’s stem cells, which are collected from healthy skin. The stem cells are isolated from the skin sample and suspended in a water solution that makes them easy to spray. The computer-controlled skin gun works like the air brushes that are used by painters, but with much more precision.

The treatment is stupidly simple — just spray the stem cells on the burned skin and wait for them to regrow. It is also extremely fast, taking only 1.5 hours to isolate the cells and and spray the skin. Once the skin cells are applied, it takes only a few days for the treatment to be effective. When state trooper Matthew Uram was burned in an unfortunate bonfire accident, he chose this experimental treatment and was entirely healed from his second-degree burns in four days.

This skin gun approach offers a significant improvement over the current methods of in-lab skin growth and surgical grafting that takes weeks and sometimes even months to be effective. Those who undergo these conventional skin graft techniques often suffer from infections and other setbacks, rendering the treatment far from optimal. A technology like the skin gun that could promote complete healing in a matter of days would represent a clear advance.

RenovaCare’s skin gun is still in the developmental stage and has not been approved by the FDA for sale in the United States, so you won’t be able to find it on the shelves of burn units quite yet. The company is making progress towards that goal, however, and has recently announced a successful round of testing that shows its gun is capable of dispersing the skin cell liquid in a very uniform and dense manner.

Recent experiments conducted at Stem Cell Systems GmbH (Berlin, Germany) show that the gun can spray more than 20,000 evenly distributed droplets in a test area as compared to a conventional needle and syringe which produced only 91. The gun is not only capable of even dispersal, but it also is gentle on the skin stem cells, which retain 97.3 percent viability after SkinGun spraying. RenovaCare is continuing its research and development as it moves towards FDA approval and eventual commercial rollout. The company recently a filed a 510(k) submission with the FDA, which is a notice of intent to market a device and often is the first step before clinical trials.

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Kelly Hodgkins
Kelly's been writing online for ten years, working at Gizmodo, TUAW, and BGR among others. Living near the White Mountains of…
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