Revolution in the treatment of major burn victims

Révolution dans le traitement des grands brûlés

Skin grafts “bilamellaires” (dermis and epidermis) cultured in the laboratory from the cells of the burn patient. It is the promising technique that has been developed by a team of researchers from CHU de Québec-Université Laval and which may benefit the burn of all of Canada in the context of a clinical trial.

The team of researchers at the Laboratory of organogenesis, experimental (XEOL), led by professors and researchers François A. Auger, Lucie Germain, and Véronique Moulin, presented Wednesday to the press this new technique, whose results have just been published in the scientific journal European Cells and Materials (eCM) Journal.

Typically, burn victims are treated by autologous, that is to say, from the segments of skin taken to other safe places on their body. But this technique has its limitations, particularly in patients who have been burned on a too large area of their body, healthy skin to take being too rare to cover the damaged parts, is there explained in a press conference.


Laboratories in the world are certainly capable of producing a covering of skin for patients with skin available is not enough. The problem is that this skin produced in the laboratory does not reproduce perfectly normal skin in that it contains only one of the three layers of the skin, the epidermis (the superficial layer).

The technique developed by the team of the XEOL is the removal of a small area of skin, no bigger than the surface of a$ 2, to collect the cells, including stem cells, and then to cultivate them in the laboratory. After about two months of culture, the strips of skin are ready to be grafted on the patient. Such grafts have been successfully used in 14 patients very strongly burnt (on 74% of their average body), a-t-on said Wednesday.

Unlike plugins developed by other laboratories, the tissue developed by researchers at the XEOL are so-called “bilamellaires”, that is to say, they are composed of two layers of skin, the dermis (the deep layer) and the epidermis.

The deep layer dermal is important for support, stability and flexibility in the long term, according to Dr. Amélie Dumas, who has treated both legs and part of the chest of a patient burned on 90% of his body and was able to see the superiority of split-skin grafts bilamellaires.

This patient, it is Luc Turcotte, burnt in a work accident five years ago while he was acting as operator of the coffee maker. It confirms: the parts of her skin treated by the grafts of the XEOL are “more flexible” than those treated with autograft.

Of the rest, the advantages of the technique include a better handling of the graft, a vascularized faster, an absence of rejection, a marked reduction of scarring and a quality of skin more homogeneous. Another advantage for the patients: because they “take” better and remain flexible, the skin grafts bilamellaires reduce the need for surgery to touch up.

The researchers of the XEOL are currently in a period of a clinical trial of the pan-canadian. “We hope to close clinical trials within two or three years ago, but it is dependent on the number of patients with extensive burns who are in the units and that must accept to be treated with an experimental technique,” explained the professor-researcher Véronique Moulin.


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