Four students from the Dutch University of Leiden have come up with a new concept for the treatment of burns victims: 3D printed skin.
Their project ‘SkinPrint’ has already won the largest student entrepreneurship award in the Netherlands and looks set to revolutionize treatment of burns patients. Skin grafts are a painful but necessary part of the current treatment of burns. However, harvesting skin from suitable sites on the body is painful, time-consuming and not always possible.
SkinPrint hopes to answer these shortcomings by combining a 3DBioprinter with the advanced technology of induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPS) which enables the creation of stem cells from specialized cells, such as hair or skin cells. These cells are then used as the ‘ink’ for the bioprinter.
The printed cells eventually go on to form all the layers of the skin. With the use of iPS personalised medicine is achieved: the patient is treated with material derived from their own cells. The team is working with renowned Swiss skin expert Ernst Reichmann and hope to gain necessary approvals from the European Medicines Agency for their process.
It is predicted that hospitals will be offering printed skin treatments within five years.
The Philips Innovation Award is a national competition for student entrepreneurs with an innovative idea. It is organized for and by students.