Allogeneic skin substitutes applied to burns patients.
Nanchahal J., Dover R., Otto WR.
Early re-surfacing of burn wounds remains the ideal but is limited by the availability of skin graft donor sites. Cultured grafts overcome these problems and autologous keratinocytes can be grown in culture and placed on a dermal substitute, but this results in delay and requires two operations. We developed an organotypic skin substitute, which achieves cover in one procedure, and have previously found allogeneic cell survival up to 2.5 years after grafting onto clean elective wounds (tattoo removal). Here, we report a short series using the same model applied to burns patients with less than 20% total body surface area affected. The skin substitutes consisted of allogeneic dermal fibroblasts embedded in a collagen gel overlain with allogeneic epidermal keratinocytes, and were grafted to patients with tangentially excised burns. A side-by-side comparison with meshed split-thickness autografts was performed. No grafts became infected. The allogeneic skin substitute showed little effective take at 1 week, and by 2 weeks only small islands of keratinocytes survived. These sites were subsequently covered with meshed split-thickness autograft, which took well. It is concluded that further development of this model is needed to overcome the hostile wound bed seen in burns patients.