A team of Korean scientists from Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences has developed a breakthrough technology to heal skin damage, such as burn injuries, by transplanting skin cells enriched from stem cells.
The team, headed by Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences researcher Son Young-sook, Tuesday revealed their technique of using stem cells to mass produce skin cells.
“We extracted skin stem cells from a burn patient’s epidermis, cultured them and increased their number by 200 times outside his body in two weeks. Then we transplanted them back to the patient and got a satisfactory result,’’ the 47-year-old Son said.
She said the new therapy will be effective for many burn patients for whom the conventional way of transplanting their own skin cells for covering burns is not feasible.
Son predicted her team will be able to conduct a human clinical test with the stem cell technology late this year as the government is now reviewing the request for the trial.
She added that the secret of her team’s success lies in knowing how to extract stem cells intact from the basal layer of the epidermis, the outer skin that protects the inner cells called dermis.
“Our team increased the efficiency of isolating skin stem cells up to 10 times compared to U.S. research groups, who are arguably the most advanced so far in this technology,’’ Son said.