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April 29, 2010

Artificial Skin That Stretches like Real Skin Has been Created

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The photograph shows a hairless lab rat at the top with a 2.7 cm² patch of the new material grafted over a dermacission of the same area. By week 4 in the lower photograph, the natural rat skin has filled in the graft area, and is showing normal fibrous scar infill.
Scientists at Spain’s University of Granada have created artificial skin with the resistance, firmness and elasticity of real skin. It is the first time artificial skin has been created from fibrin-agarose biomaterial. Fibrin is a protein involved in the clotting of the blood, while agarose is a sugar obtained from seaweed, commonly used to create gels in laboratories. The new material could be used in the treatment of skin problems, and could also replace test animals in dermatological labs.

The researchers started by obtaining plasma samples from human donors, and separating out the fibrin. They then added calcium chloride, to precipitate coagulation, tranexamic acid, to keep the coagulate from breaking down, and 0.1% agarose. The resultant material was grafted onto the backs of hairless mice, where its bio-compatibility with living organisms could be observed.

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