Instead of moving skin from other parts of the body or operating in prostheses of non-biological material, it is becoming more and more common for surgeons to cultivate the patient’s own cells to make repairs. In burn injuries, for example, derma cells are cultivated from epithelium cells and then grow onto the surface of the wound.
The research team at Linköping University has studied various ways to cultivate the cell type needed in a matrix, a scaffolding, and then to apply it to the body. The best results were attained using porous spheres of micro format consisting of gelatin - a substance that occurs naturally in the human body.
“These spheres offer multiple advantages. Enormous numbers of cells can be cultivated in the gelatin, and the material can also be injected in the patient,” says Fredrik Huss, a plastic surgeon in training who describes the method in his doctoral dissertation.
All types of cells attempted grew extremely well in the gelatin balls: skin cells, connecting tissue cells, cartilage cells, early stages of fat cells, and mammary gland cells. Experiments with transplanting in mice also yielded favourable results. Injection under the skin of spheres containing connecting tissue cells and fat cells led to good regeneration of tissue.
But it is not even necessary to cultivate the cells in advance. Empty balls were injected into the upper arm of healthy volunteers. For comparison, saline solution and Resylane, a commonly used anti-wrinkle substance, were injected. The result was excellent regeneration of tissue inside the spheres, which were then degraded and disappeared, and there were no signs of rejection. On the other hand, Resylane injection produced no new generation of tissue.
MEDICA.de; Source: Linköping University