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Scientists Produce 3D Scaffolds To Grow Skin Grafts From Patients Own Skin

A scientist in a lab.
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Electrospinning is a technique which electrifies droplets of liquid to form fibres from plastics. Previously, scientists had only been able to make 2D films. This is the first time anybody has electro-spun a 3D structure directly and on-demand so that it can be produced to scale.

After spinning these scaffolds, we grew skin cells on them. Seven days later, they were twice as viable as cells grown on 2D films or mats. They even did better than cells grown on plasma-treated polystyrene – previously, the gold standard. They were very happy cells on our 3D scaffolds!  

Our findings pave the way for harvesting a patient’s own skin cells and multiplying them. These grafts could treat chronic wounds better and faster. Chloe Howard, Postgraduate Researcher, School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

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Scientists prepared a solution which included gelatin and polyaprolactone (PCL) - a biodegradable polymer which is known to be compatible with human tissue. They pumped this solution through a syringe into an electrical field, which stretched it into nanofibres.   

This process is simple, scalable, and cheap. The researchers now hope it can be used in other medical applications.   

Reference: Howard CJ, Paul A, Duruanyanwu J, Sackho K, Campagnolo P, Stolojan V. The Manufacturing Conditions for the Direct and Reproducible Formation of Electrospun PCL/Gelatine 3D Structures for Tissue Regeneration. Nanomater. 2023;13(24):3107. doi: 10.3390/nano13243107

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