Artificial skin produced using nanoscale technology. Source: Antonios Keirouz Artificial skin produced using nanoscale technology. Source: Antonios Keirouz Engineers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have developed a new skin-like fabric for wound dressing with both the thickness and the elasticity to match specific regions of the body and that can eventually be absorbed by the body.

To develop the new fabric, engineers blended together two different synthetic materials — polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and polyglycerol sebacate (PGS) — producing nanometer-sized fibers that are thousands of times thinner than a strand of human hair. The engineers accomplished this through a process called “nozzle-free electrospinning" wherein engineers placed a rotating cylinder above a pool of solution holding the synthetic material mixture. As the cylinder spun under high temperature and voltage, the fibers rapidly emerged from the liquid and spun onto a nearby hot surface. There, as the fibers cooled, the fabric formed.

During testing with skin cells, the fabric’s fibers offered a scaffold for newly formed skin to grow on. As wounds healed, the new fabric was absorbed by the body, thereby eliminating the need for frequent dressing changing. Researchers also noted that the PVP and PGS mixture can be reconfigured to create dressings of different elasticities and thicknesses.

“Our technique is a cost-effective way of making artificial skin adapted for all areas of body[sic], to accelerate the wound healing process," said study co-author Dr. Norbert Radacsi.

The engineers hope to further develop the material with additional testing. Their results have been published in the journal Medical Engineering and Physics.

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