Artificially grown skin from another donor is fast but also raises the risk of rejection, which can further increase the chance of a life-threatening infection. Skin can be grown using a patients own cells, harvested from a much smaller area than a full graft, which is more reliable but takes weeks to grow.
ReCell combines the speed and reliability of a skin graft with the small donor site of artificially grown skin. As little as six one-thousands of an inch-deep of skin is scraped from an area the size of a postage stamp. Once taken, the donor site looks like a small rug burn, raw and pink with pinprick bleeding. A full graft leaves the donor site bleeding.
Contained in those six-thousands of an inch are basal stem cells and melanocytes, cells that give skin its particular color and texture. The structural materials holding these cells in place are dissolved with trypsin, a enzyme harvested from pigs, and then sprayed back onto a burn site.
Once on the burned area, the skin stem cells and melanocytes begin to divide and expand. In less than a week that stamp-sized donor site of skin can turn into a page's worth of new, healthy skin. Skin that matches the tone and texture of the original skin more closely than skin grafts usually do.