Using the ReCell kit, a small skin biopsy is processed, turning the sliver of skin into a suspension of cells. This takes about 30 minutes. The resulting liquid is then sprayed onto the area of second-degree burns. And here's a bonus: you can cover a much bigger area with this method, compared to the size of the initial skin sample. For example, the developer, Dr. Fiona Wood from Australia, says she has been able to use a piece of skin the size of a postage stamp to cover a burn across the whole of child’s chest. While this technology has existed for a few years, it always required lab processing of the tissue: this method uses a compact, go-anywhere kit.
There are other benefits, too. The researchers suggest spray-on skin results in less scarring than normal grafting, even when a graft has not been meshed. And the need to remove only a small piece of skin means it is easier to match the colour of the grafted tissue to the place where it is going. Scar revisions and treatment of pigmentation problems have also been performed with this method.
Naturally, the U.S. military is very interested in this. The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) is co-sponsoring a trial of the technology, supporting it with $2 million as the lead element of a new five-year regenerative medicine program designed to better help injured soldiers.
Pretty cool stuff - but sadly, it's not FDA approved yet.