Eight children with serious burns have gained very high quality skin in a short time without any need for further grafting — courtesy of fetal skin. Swiss researchers developed a skin-cell bank from one fetal skin biopsy (4 cm2 skin) taken after a pregnancy termination at 14-weeks’ gestation. They then developed fetal skin-cell constructs from collagen sheets. Paediatric patients who were candidates for autologous skin-grafting had successive constructs applied to their burn sites at every change of dressing for up to 3 weeks. Complete skin closure was rapid, occurring in about 15 days. There was little hypertrophy and no retraction of the new skin. Further, over time, total recovery of mobility was documented, especially in the hands and fingers. The skin-cell bank developed by the researchers is capable of producing several million skin constructs.
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