Bioengineered BioMask Offers Hope for Healing Facial Skin Injuries

Sang Jin LeeFacial wounds or burns could one day be treated with skin tissue regenerated with the use of a 3-D bioprinted BioMask created by Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) scientists.

Skin injury or burns to the face are difficult to treat due to the varied contours and complex movement of the muscles. Current strategies to treat extensive facial wounds and burns are limited to the use of skin grafts and skin substitutes which can often lead to scarring, infection or graft failure.

In recent decades, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering has emerged as an effective method for skin regeneration. Bioengineered skin substitutes can be created from both natural and synthetic materials and are most commonly placed directly on the skin wound site, but they are limited in size and some require a lengthy preparation time. And, with traditional skin grafts, many burn patients do not have enough unburned skin to harvest grafts.

The BioMask could change that. This proof-of-concept study, published online in the journal Bioprinting, involved the novel strategy of a customized, bioengineered skin substitute combined with a wound dressing layer to snugly fit onto a facial wound to regenerate skin.

“For patients who suffer from disfiguring facial wounds, the BioMask could one day be used as an effective treatment that would greatly improve their quality of life,” said lead author Sang Jin Lee, PhD, associate professor of regenerative medicine.

Read the news release.

Research Funding
Research reported was supported by the following grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

Bioengineered BioMask Offers Hope for Healing Facial Skin Injuries: NIH grant 1P41EB023833-01.