Saturday 21 July 2018

The Weekly Read: NUIG researchers developing artificial skin

Photo: Stock Image
Photo: Stock Image

Gary Murphy

Researchers at NUI Galway are working on developing a new type of artificial skin graft to help those suffering from serious burns or wounds.

The project, named NanoGrowSkin, will attempt to bio-engineer an artificial human skin substitute using nanotechnology. The researchers plan to use these extremely precise methods to create a structure comparable to human tissue.

“The skin is the main protective barrier the body has against any external attack,” said Professor Abhay Pandit, the lead researcher on the project at NUIG.

“In this project we will be investigating the development of a bio-engineered human skin substitute that would be a suitable option for treating patients.”

Other universities in Spain, Italy and France are also contributing to the research. The team hope to eventually introduce the product to the wider European medical market.

One of the key factors in this proposed tissue is its ability to resist infection. Previously, artificial skins were highly susceptible to bacterial infection, however the team at NanoSkinGrow believe their tissue will reverse this trend and incorporate itself well with a patient’s natural skin.

“We aim to overcome the two major drawbacks of severe skin wounds, the urgent need of an effective skin implant in life-threatening situations and to avoid/counteract usual bacterial infections," said Professor Pandit.

The proposed tissue would be of great use for burn victims, as well as those involved in road traffic accidents and explosions.

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