A team from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine 3D bioprints face mask to heal wounds

Published on February 19, 2019 by Carlota V.
Wake Forest Institute

The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) in the United-States aims to translate scientific discovery into clinical therapies. Today, this interdisciplinary team is working to engineer more than 30 different replacement tissues, organs and develop healing cell therapies.

A 3D bioprinted mask to heal face wounds

Recently, a team coming from WFIRM published in the journal Bioprinting their new research. In fact, their proof-of-concept research uses 3D bioprinting technologies to produce customised, bioengineered skin substitutes. The new solution which they’ve called “BioMask” is incorporated into a dressing and fits tightly and directly onto a patient’s facial wound, like a mask.

Usually, traditional treatments for facial wounds include transplanting healthy skin from the same person or someone else to where it is needed. These treatments often come with the risk of infection and scarring. Furthermore, in the case of burn patients another complication can be the lack of sufficient undamaged skin to harvest grafts.

The 3D printed BioMask developed by the team could be shaped perfectly for a patient’s face and include their own skin cells. It could become a solution to assist and accelerate the regenerative process of healing. The BioMask was based on computer tomography (CT) images of the patient’s face. In order to build the mask, the team combined a wound dressing with three layers of cell-laden hydrogels.

Accelerating the healing process

The BioMask was printed on an in-house 3D integrated tissue-organ printing (ITOP) system that’s capable of dispensing up to six different cell types and biomaterials.

In the experimental phase of this project, the team applied the BioMask to a wound on a face-shaped structure on a mouse model. When they examined the results, they found that skin tissue consisting of both epidermis and dermis layers had regenerated the wound.

Also, tests on a control group also confirmed the BioMask’s effectiveness. Indeed, they confirmed increased epidermal and dermal cell counts after seven and fourteen days.

Credits: WFIRM

The BioMask could have great clinical impact for patients by providing effective and rapid restoration of facial skin following serious burn or injury,” stated Dr. Anthony Atala, director of WFIRM and a co-author of the paper. “The bioprinting technology, combined with the face CT image, utilised for this concept allows for the fabrication of a personalised shape of a patient’s face so that we can take better care of the wound.”

You can fin out more about the results of their research HERE.

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