Developed by researchers at the University of Toronto, the printer could greatly improve treatment and healing for burn victims. This is because it produces skin tissue itself, without the need of a donor. Doctors often have trouble finding enough donor skin to treat large wounds like severe burns using traditional skin grafts, meaning they have to leave parts of the wounds uncovered.
The device works much like a dispenser for white out correction tape. It is rolled along the skin while dispensing the printed skin, which is made of protein-based biomaterials. Weighing in at just two pounds, it would be easy to use during surgical procedures. Moving forward, the team hopes to widen the printer so it could cover larger wounds.
“Our skin printer promises to tailor tissues to specific patients and wound characteristics,” said Ph.D. student Navid Hakimi, who led the research, in a news release. “And it’s very portable.”