Conventionally, skin grafting is the most common method used to treat harsh burns. Skin is removed from a healthy part of the patient’s body, then punctured with minuscule holes to help new skin growth and placed over the burn wound.
It is a tried and tested procedure, but it can be slow and prone to scarring and infection.
SkinGun, uses a gentler, less invasive approach.
Stem cells are first removed from a postage stamp-sized sample of the patient’s skin. They are then added to a liquid suspension, which is sprayed as a fine mist onto the wound, using the SkinGun.
Spraying allows skin to regrow uniformly across the wound, rather than just from the outside in. It leads to faster, less painful skin growth, and it can take as little as 90 minutes to complete the whole procedure.
Although for the moment it has only been used on second-degree burns, there is evidence it could be effective on other skin wounds and ailments.
Sound like Star Trek to you?
The SkinGun has been in development for about a decade, and it has been tested successfully on 60 patients. RenovaCare, the company behind it, are currently in the process of applying for permission to use it in routine clinical practice, both in the US and Europe – meaning it could come to a hospital near you sooner than you think.
By lightly spraying the patient’s own stem cells onto the scarred tissue, and prompting fast and organic skin regrowth, it could be a life-changing piece of tech for the over 140 million people worldwide who currently suffer from severe burns, scarring and other skin defects or disorders.
SkinGun will be on display in our interactive Tomorrow’s World gallery until mid-February 2018.