21 Apr 2018

A New Zealand startup's new way of growing skin

From This Way Up, 12:15 pm on 21 April 2018

The US military is backing a new skin-engineering technique for burns victims developed by an Auckland startup. 

Scientists at Upside Biotechnologies say that using a 10c coin-sized piece of your skin they can grow enough to cover your entire body – in under a month.

They claim the skin engineering technique – which is yet to be clinically trialled – is faster and safer than other skin culture methods often used to treat badly burned patients, including skin grafts.

A cross-section of Upside’s engineered skin product, PelliCel® with immunohistochemical stains showing the top layer, epidermis in red and the lower, dermal layer in blue. (Supplied)

A cross-section of Upside’s engineered skin product, PelliCel® with immunohistochemical stains showing the top layer, epidermis in red and the lower, dermal layer in blue. (Supplied) Photo: Supplied

Because the technique is non-invasive and requires minimal supervision, there's a possibility the process could be automated, with self-contained 'skin factories' eventually working away unmonitored.

The US army is backing the technology as a method of treating troops who've been badly burned on the battlefield, away from hospitals and labs.

Vaughan Feisst, Robert Feldman and Rod Dunbar of Upside Biotechnologies

Vaughan Feisst, Robert Feldman and Rod Dunbar of Upside Biotechnologies Photo: (Supplied)

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