While still in the trial stages, the new ‘Skin Cell Gun’ could become the biggest breakthrough in healing and saving the lives of burn victims. Utilizing the burn victims own stem cells, the new ‘skin gun’ is able to speed up the healing process of burns to days instead of the typical weeks or months. “With so many new breakthroughs, it’s clear that stem cell therapies will be the future of medicine,” says Cindy Morrissey, CEO of Emerging Healthcare Solutions.
When it comes to burn victims, it is not always the burns that can kill a patient, but rather the infections that develop while the skin goes through the healing process. Open skin wounds can become easily infected and when a body is badly burned, these infections can spread and cause death. Because of the extended time (weeks or months) it takes to heal and regrow new skin, the risk of infection is the biggest battle doctors encounter when it comes to treating burn victims. Reducing the healing time, in turn, reduces the risk and rate of infection.
The ‘Skin Cell Gun’, developed by Dr. Jörg C. Gerlach and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, looks like something an airbrush artist would use, and works in a very similar fashion. Taking only an hour and a half, the burn victim’s skin is biopsied, and the stem cells are isolated from the person’s healthy skin and put in a water solution to then be sprayed onto the burns and wounds on the patient.
Matthew Uram, one of the first to be treated with the ‘Skin Cell Gun’ was severely burned at a bonfire. Someone at the fire threw gasoline onto the fire and Uram received severe second degree burns on his face, neck, and down his arm. “The arm kinda looked like a piece of charred meat, like a hot dog left on the griddle too long”, Uram says in the interview video by National Geographic. He was told he may be a good candidate for this experimental treatment and asked if he would be interested. Uram was treated with his skin cells on a Friday, and when he returned for a follow-up treatment the next Monday, only 4 days later, the burn unit said it was completely healed.
The ‘Skin Cell Gun’ is still experimental; however, it has already successfully treated over a dozen patients. It brings with it the hope of a possible miracle treatment of sorts for burn victims, and the good chance that the death rate due to burns will be greatly reduced.
EHSI: ‘Skin Gun’ For Burns is Latest Potential Stem Cell Treatment, Business Wire
The Skin Gun Video, National Geographic