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Saving Skin with Stem Cells and the SkinGun

Skin and Stem CellsNew stem cell project, called the SkinGun, that has been used to successfully treat burn victims by growing new skin to replace damaged tissue using their own stem cells, according to Newsweek.

The Skinny on the SkinGun
The SkinGun is the first product of its kind. During the SkinGun treatment, a small sample of skin, about the size of a postage stamp, is taken from a from an unburned area of the burn victim's body. The skin sample is then spun to separate out the stem cells.

Once the stem cells are separated, they are put into a solution. The stem cells are in their pure form, not altered in any way. The solution is then sprayed on the victim’s burned skin. Once the stem cells are deployed onto the patient’s damaged skin, they go to work repairing damaged tissue. The stem cell spray process is quick, and only takes about an hour and a half from the time the tissue sample is taken until deployment.

The healing process is also fast. Once the skin cells are applied, it takes only a few days for the treatment to be effective- with patients growing new skin in just a few days. The process of healing is sped up so much because stem cells regenerate very quickly. There is also no limit to how many times they can regenerate.

"Stem cells have two unique factors, the ability to regenerate infinitely and the ability to develop into a specialized type of tissue," Dr. Bill Johnson, M.D. said.

Johnson is a stem cell physician in Dallas, Texas, and treats patients with damaged tissues that occur because of illness or injury. Johnson uses stem cells taken from the adipose fat tissue from the patient he is treating and deploys them back into their body to repair damage joints, cartilage, muscles and nerve tissues.

These two factors make them beneficial for treating patients with burns or other types of injuries. Stem cells also contain powerful growth factors that send messages to the body to begin the healing process. These growth factors encourage blood flow to the wound site, new tissue growth and collagen production.

SkinGun Reduces Scarring
The new skin that forms as a result of the SkinGun treatment looks just like normal skin and eliminates unsightly or noticeable scarring from burns or other trauma. Patients also enjoy a greater range of motion with their new skin compared to skin that has been scarred. Scarred skin can become very tight, which leads to pain and limitations of movement.

People who suffer extensive burns usually endure weeks or even months of treatment. Traditional treatments for severe burns include skin grafts, where surgeons take skin from elsewhere on the body and transplants it onto the areas that have been burned.

Once the skin is transplanted, the hope is that the new skin will cover and protect the area that has been damaged. Skin grafts are not guaranteed to be accepted by the body, however, which could leave the patient susceptible to pain, infection and other complications.

Stem Cells Save the Day for Burn Patients and Beyond
Stem cell therapy has proven beneficial for patients suffering from conditions or injuries that conventional medical treatments have not been able to help. Patients with diseases like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease and ALS have seen relief from their painful symptoms because stem cell therapy treats the source of their illness- which is often damaged or inflamed tissue- instead of just seeking to ease symptoms. Although the SkinGun has been patented, it has not received FDA approval for use in the United States.

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