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General News

SA Pathology helps the Burns Unit

17 July 2019

The Skin Laboratory has recently grown skin for a man who suffered from life threatening burns. After presenting in December 2018 at the Royal Adelaide Hospital with 95% burns to his body, Glenn Ogg received over 26 pieces (25cm x 25cm) of skin that had been grown in the laboratory.

With the aim of abolishing the need for skin grafts for deep burns, the Skin Laboratory has been developing a two-stage process of the Composite Cultured Skin (CCS) technology alongside the Biodegradable temporising matrix (BTM) since 2004.

With no meaningful donor site, special approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) was also required, and obtained, to use this new technology.

The CCSs were grown in a semi-automated bioreactor in the SA Pathology cleanroom. A skin biopsy of healthy tissue was taken to the cleanrooms where the skin cells were isolated and expanded in mass culture and then seeded into the 1mm polyurethane foam to produce a 3D skin composite. 

At 6 months post-burn, this 95% TBSA deep burn patient is alive, progressing to 100% healed and will soon be discharged to rehabilitation.

This world-first has the potential to change the treatment of burn care and demonstrates translational research at its best.