Scientists Create Human Skin from Hair Cells

Feb 11, 2008
German scientists found a way to develop skin cells in a laboratory taken from a person's own stem cells from the hair roots. This breakthrough discovery may lead to applications in plastic and reconstructive surgery for treatment of the burns and wounds and creation of special implants.

Dr Andreas Emmendorffer, a managing director of EuroDerm corporation, together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) in Leipzig, has been granted approval for the study of the development of artificial skin from patients' own cells.

He explained that cell culture is developed during two weeks from the hair roots of the back of the patient's head. The method also includes the alteration of the nutrient solution that covers the upper side of the cell, which is transformed by the surrounding air pressure. This leads to differentiation of the stem cells into artificial skin cells. The skin cells are grown in a special rooms according to all the safety regulations and measuring the the number of particles in the air.

This technique allows to cover up to 100 square centimeters of skin for the patient.

The scientists want to produce skin grafts for 20 patients on average each month for treatment of the wounds and burns. The new method has the advantage over the present treatment as it leaves no scars and patient has more chances for faster recovery.

It is possible to see if the new skin was successfully survived after just a few days, while 72 days later the artificial skin can no longer be distinguished from a healthy skin.