LABORATORY-GROWN SKIN COULD REVOLUTIONIZE GRAFTS
WASHINGTON Japanese scientists have for the first time grown skin in a lab and transplanted it onto a mouse, with it then doing all the things skin is needed to do — produce sweat, secrete protective oils, grow hair.
Though they’re a good five to 10 years away from replicating the same tech- nique in humans, the scientists say it has the potential to revolutionize skin grafts, which currently rely on skin taken from other parts of the body or still-flawed artificial skin. The former poses medical challenges, and the latter lacks the ability to grow hair or produce oils like normal skin — which, at best, makes the grafts look different from the rest of the body, and at worst can be a health hazard.
If it works for humans, labgrown skin developed by lead author Takashi Tsuji and his colleagues has the potential to help burn victims and people who suffer from some forms of hair loss and other conditions, experts said.