Millions of people – many of them children – suffer from skin injuries, whether due to burns, hereditary diseases, surgical scars, chronic ulcers or other defects and abnormalities. Today’s standard of care has surgeons harvest large quantities of thin, healthy patient skin. These autografts can be expanded up to 1,5 times their original size.
After the transplant, the patients often suffer from disfiguring and debilitating scars. A scar is non-elastic tissue that contracts and can not grow with the rest of the body. Growing children require follow-up surgeries every two years on average.
Cutiss can bio-engineer customized human skin grafts that reach up to 70 times the size of the skin biopsy taken to start off – all in a matter of four to five weeks.
Previous methods only achieve a high-growth factor of 9. Cutiss’s method offers valuable advantages:
- The biopsy can be taken at a discreet location on the patient’s body.
- The scar produced in the biopsy is small.
- The scarring and the risk of infection after transplantation are minimal.
- The bio-engineered skin can even be adapted to match the skin tone of the patient.
- The quality of life of those affected is significantly higher.
- The costs for medical and psycho-social care are reduced.
In a series of clinical trials at the Children’s Hospital in Zürich between 2014 and now, the skin replacement was tested according to strict regulations on ten children with different skin problems, such as burns, scars and birthmarks. According to a media release from the Children’s Hospital of Zurich in September 2016, the preliminary results “(…) clearly showed that the clinical use of laboratory-generated skin in humans is possible. The required safety for the patient is granted, namely no infections have occurred.“
Cutiss will provide surgeons with a skin biopsy kit. After receiving the biopsy, Cutiss will manufacture and send the skin grafts back to the surgeon.
Further tests on patients with significantly greater skin injuries as well as the testing of the logistic supply chain are planned.