SCIENTISTS at Manchester University have developed a printer able to produce human skin to help wounds heal.
It could be used on patients who have suffered burns and disfigurements. With more research it could even replace broken bones.
Using the same principle as an ink-jet printer, experts are able to take skin cells from a patient's body, multiply them, then print out a tailor-made strip of skin, ready to sew on to the body. The wound's dimensions are entered into the printer to ensure a perfect fit.
The printer, which takes up an area equivalent to three filing cabinets, could see the end of traditional skin and bone grafts.
Scientists at the university's School of Materials have already successfully created skin and believe they will soon be able to create bone and cartilage.
Similar printers are being developed in Japan and the US, but the Manchester team is hoping to beat its competitors by being the first to start clinical trials on patients. (cont.)