Burns research & reconstructive surgery

Skin Repair: Tissue Engineering Using Synthetic Elastin

Rnjak J., Li Z., Maitz P.K.M. and Weiss A.S.

Synthetic human elastin is among a range of bioengineered materials aimed at mimicking native host connective tissue. Synthetic elastin scaffolds, produced by chemically cross-linking recombinant human tropoelastin, is a logical choice for a skin substitute matrix.

Synthetic human elastin has the potential to overcome difficulties associated with other matrices including animal-derived collagen or irradiated cadaver-derived dermis, as it is a human protein and therefore not expected to be rejected. An additional benefit is that it is recombinant and therefore not extracted from humans, eliminating the risk of contamination especially with agents that are difficult to eradicate such as latent viruses and prions.

The current project aims to grow human skin cells on synthetic human elastin scaffold (both sheets and electrospun 3-D structure) in an attempt to develop an autologous skin substitute for the treatment of burn injuries.