Spray-On Skin Is a Lifesaver for Burns Victims

Article excerpt


AN aerosol which sprays human skin cells is set to revolutionise the treatment of serious burns victims.

Dubbed 'skin in a tin', doctors say the cure minimises scarring and halves patients' recovery time.

In a groundbreaking trial, wounds which would normally take up to a month to heal have closed within ten days.

The technology has been piloted by medical experts at the Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in East Grinstead, West Sussex. Human skin cells grown in the laboratory are attached to an aerosol and sprayed on to burns victims in a similar way to the latest beauty salon fake tan treatments.

In as little as ten minutes in the operating theatre, millions of cells grown from a tiny patch of the patient's skin can be sprayed on to an area the size of an adult's torso.

The cells are suspended in a fluid full of nutrients which keeps them fresh and ready to grow.

Dr Liz James, head of research at the Blond McIndoe Centre at the hospital, said: 'We have seen what I can only describe as miraculous results using spray-on skin with patients surviving 90 per cent burns who otherwise had very little chance of survival.' Ten patients, from a tenmonthold baby to a 90-year- old man, underwent the treatment.

One man in his thirties, who was doused in petrol and set on fire, defied doctors' prognosis that he would never walk again by making a full recovery.

He has now taken up skydiving.

Consultant burns and plastic surgeon Baljit Dhensa has treated a number of patients with sprayon skin.

He said: 'If you look at a mesh skin graft after four to five days, you don't expect to see it's virtually healed. With the spray-on skin cells that has happened. …