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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Skin substitutes to enhance wound healing.

Biologically-based skin substitutes have developed as commercial products over the last 5 years. The first generation includes the collagen-based synthetic device, Integra, and Alloderm, which is based on devitalised and cross-linked human dermis. These are used as dermal replacements for third degree burns. Within the last year, the tissue-engineered product, Dermagraft-TC, has become available. While originally intended as a temporary covering for severe burns, Dermagraft-TC has proved to markedly improve the healing of deep second degree burns. The earliest living skin substitutes used autologous keratinocytes expanded in vitro. Two new products containing living cells, Dermagraft and Apligraf, are expected to be approved shortly for diabetic foot ulcers and venous stasis ulcers, respectively. Dermagraft is produced by growing human fibroblasts on a three-dimensional scaffold. The cells actively proliferate and lay down extracellular matrix to generate a papillary dermis-like device that shows a combination of angiogenic, growth factor and cell adhesion properties that enhance healing in diabetic foot ulcers. The production of Apligraf includes casting human fibroblasts in collagen, in order to generate a dermal equivalent on which is grown an epidermis. The structure is akin to a skin graft and is so applied. Despite Dermagraft and Apligraf being of allogeneic origin, rejection has not been an issue in clinical trials and possible contamination by pathogens has been eliminated as a concern through extensive testing. These developments represent a new concept and are expected to revolutionise wound care. They may also provide a platform for gene therapy applications.[1]


  1. Skin substitutes to enhance wound healing. Mansbridge, J. Expert opinion on investigational drugs. (1998) [Pubmed]
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