Researches from the University of Tornado are trying to give burn victims a speedy recovery by giving them the live stem cells from their own burned skin. This will increase the survival rate of the people who have faced surviving fires or industrial accidents. They are planning now to begin their first human trial by early 2019.
Saeid Amini-Nik and Marc Jeschke are the first two researchers at the Faculty of Medicine who were able to detect the live stem cells in the uppermost dermis layer of the burned victims. They were also the first one who tested it by applying it in certain animal models to observe the skin growth. The results of the study are published in eBioMedicine.
Nowadays what physicians are doing with the burned skin of the victims is that they remove it and dispose of it and add the collagen dressing to the burned area in order to regrow the skin. This process is done so that the patient regrows the skin before any fatal infection can hit them. The downside of this process is it takes several months to be completed.
According to Amini-Nik, a leading member of the study and an assistant professor in the department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology, “With cells added to the collagen, we expect the process of healing would be very fast- possibly days instead of weeks or months.”
“For burn patients, time is very important: With the open wound and the need to change dressings, their chance of infection is high, and sometimes they die of sepsis. Much faster healing would be a major step forward.” Amini-Nik, an assistant professor in the department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology
Other scientists also previously had the idea of using live stem cells for the burned victims, but these cells were extracted from other people organs like an umbilical cord. This idea failed as cells from other people can face rejection.
It is one of the tough tasks to remove the undamaged skin and bone marrow stem cells by following surgical procedures. It is difficult because mostly the people are at risk of dying due to their wounds especially if they have burned more than half of their body or are already having greater chances of developing an infection.
Up till now no one has ever noticed or came up with the idea to look for the viable cells in the patients burned skin itself, usually, the burned skin is considered nothing but typically a waste.
When Saeid Amini-Nik and Marc Jeschke started their experiment of finding a single viable cell in the burned skin they were completely astonished after seeing that not one neither hundred but thousand of living stem cells were present in those discarded skin fragments.
In the clinical trial, the extracted human stem cells were injected in the collagen dressing of animals and it was found that the process of regrowth of skin increased by 30%.
Rejection issues were not faced plus a more natural skin was created. For cases of human, the researchers expect that the percentage will be even more higher as cells of same species will be used.
As per Amini-Nik, “Because we’re actual skin stem cells, and not from other parts of the body, we believe the quality of the skin will be better. We also believe this will be better for the quality of life: itching and inability to sweat are big problems for burn patients. We believe if we use the stem cells from the very same organ, we’ll grow better skin.”