Bioengineering skin using mechanisms of regeneration and repair
The development and use of artificial skin in treating acute and chronic wounds has, over the last 30 years, advanced from a scientific concept to a series of commercially viable products. Many important clinical milestones have been reached and the number of artificial skin substitutes licensed for clinical use is growing, but they have yet to replace the current “gold standard” of an autologous skin graft. Currently available skin substitutes often suffer from a range of problems that include poor integration (which in many cases is a direct result of inadequate vascularisation), scarring at the graft margins and a complete lack of differentiated structures. The ultimate goal for skin tissue engineers is to regenerate skin such that the complete structural and functional properties of the wounded area are restored to the levels before injury. New synthetic biomaterials are constantly being developed that may enable control over wound repair and regeneration mechanisms by manipulating cell adhesion, growth and differentiation and biomechanics for optimal tissue development. In this review, the clinical developments in skin bioengineering are discussed, from conception through to the development of clinically viable products. Central to the discussion is the development of the next generation of skin replacement therapy, the success of which is likely to be underpinned with our knowledge of wound repair and regeneration.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 28, Issue 34, December 2007, Pages 5100–5113