Stem Cells Could Eliminate Skin Grafting In Treatment Of Severe Burns [Study]

Stem cells are seen as a highly effective form of treatment in the medical community for a number of diseases and conditions.

They’ve been shown to be remarkable treatments particularly for cancers like lymphoma, multiple myeloma, leukemia, breast cancer, neuroblastoma, renal cell carcinoma, and ovarian cancer.

They’ve also been proven effective in treating autoimmune diseases, anemias, immunodeficiencies, and in treating stroke victims, just to name a few.

But new research out of the University of Miami indicates they may also be able to treat severe burn victims without the need for skin grafts.

“This is exciting stuff when you think of how helpful it could be. There has been little major advancement in burn treatment in the last 20 years,” said Dr. Evangelos Badiavas, principal investigator at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at UM’s Miller School of Medicine, in comments to the Miami Herald. “Severe burns can ruin a life, so there is a desperate need.”

Dr. Wendy Dean, medical adviser for the Tissue Injury and Regenerative Medicine Program Management Office at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, said the new research could provide hope for combat veterans affected by severe burns.

“The benefit of this therapy would be to have an ‘off the shelf’ technology available for the treatment of deployment-related burn injuries which would not require skin grafting,” Dean said.

“One of the most urgent requests from both burn patients and their care providers is to eliminate the need for skin grafts.”

Audra D.S. Burch, of the Herald, explains that the treatment will target second-degree burns. In the trial that is now underway, “the wound is typically covered in a thin, protective dressing.”

“Mesenchymal stem cells, adult cells harvested from the donor’s bone marrow, are then injected underneath the coating into the wound to regenerate the outer and inner skin layers.”

The treatments will take place every two weeks and the number of said treatments needed to rebuild the skin will be a major goal of the trial.

“Other questions they hope to answer by the end of the two-year study period,” notes Burch, include the following.

“How long does the wound actually take to completely heal with a new layer of skin? What is the probability of stem cell rejection? Who are the best candidates for the treatment?”

For more on the study, check out the full article here.

Do you think the U.S. should put more resources into the research of stem cells and how they can be used to effectively treat severe burns and other conditions? Sound off in our comments section.

[Image via ShutterStock]