Artificial skin has been grown from stem cells in a world-first medical breakthrough.

A new study, published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, has seen Spanish scientists manage to grow artificial skin from stem cells of umbilical cord. It also shows the ability of Wharton jelly mesenschymal stem cells to turn to oral-mucosa or skin-regeneration epithelia.

The achievement will be profoundly useful in large skin grafts for burn victims, as the skin can be stored in tissue banks and made available when needed.

Under the current protocols for skin replacement, patients often have to wait weeks in order for it to be grown using healthy skin from the patient themselves.

To grow the artificial skin, researchers used, a combination of the new type of epithelia covering, and a biomaterial made of fibrin and agarose, already designed by the same Spanish research team.

The study was performed out the laboratories at the University of Granada’s Faculty of Medicine, alongside the Experimental Unit of a local hospital.

“Creating this new type of skin using stem cells, which can be stored in tissue banks, means that it can be used instantly when injuries are caused, and which would bring the application of artificial skin forward many weeks”, explained Antonio Campos, Professor of Histology at the University of Granada and one of the authors of the new study.

The latest efforts expand on the previous work from the same lab, which is accessible here.