A biotechnology company just got a cool $18 million from the US Defense Department for its PermaDerm™ product – an engineered skin substitute grown from a patient’s own skin cells!
Regenicin Inc., a New York unit of the Lonza Group, specializes in the development of regenerative cell therapies to restore the health of damaged tissues and organs.
According to Regenicin:, “PermaDerm allows a small harvested section of the patient’s own skin to grow to graft an area 100 times its size in as little as 30 days. The living, self-to-self skin graft tissues are intended to form permanent skin tissue that won’t be rejected by the immune system of the patient, a critical possibility in porcine or cadaver skin grafts.”
The treatment process with PermaDerm cultured skin begins when a small full thickness section of skin is harvested from the patient. Skin cells (kerotinocytes and fibroblasts) are then isolated from the harvested section in a cell therapy facility and cultured separately in nutrient media in order to expand the cell populations. Cell expansion in the cell therapy facility allows for the production of a large number of grafts from a small harvested section from the patient. The cells are then combined with the proprietary biopolymer substrate which is fabricated from collagen. Cells organize themselves on the biopolymer to ultimately mimic the structure of normal skin.
PermaDerm™ was developed at the Shriners Children’s Hospital and has already been used to treat more than 150 pediatric, catastrophic burn victims through an Investigation Device Exemption issued by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is PermaDerm’s first clinical trial to be conducted on adults, a major milestone for achieving pre-market approval by the FDA.
The clinical trial will contain 10 patients, both male and female, between the ages of 18 and 40, who suffer third-degree burns. These trials and future trials will take place at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston and at a second site to be determined.
By scientific rationale, PermaDerm™ could assist any patient with chronic skin wounds or skin illnesses and would eliminate the need to remove large amounts of the patient’s own skin for grafts thereby reducing the chances of life threatening infections.