London – A small US biotech has successfully regenerated skin and stimulated hair growth in pigs with burns and abrasions, paving the way for a scientific breakthrough that could lead to the regeneration of fully functional human skin.
Salt Lake City-based PolarityTE Inc’s patented approach to tissue engineering is designed to use a patient’s own healthy tissue to re-grow human skin for the treatment of burns and wounds.
PolarityTE’s founder and CEO Denver Lough said in an interview that current approaches to treat serious burns are “severely limited” in their effectiveness and in some cases, are rather expensive.
Epicel, a skin graft widely used in burn units that is sold by Massachusetts-based Vericel Corp, does not result in fully thick and functional skin — which is PolarityTE’s objective.
PolarityTE conducted its pre-clinical study on wounded pigs at an animal facility in Utah. he use of therapy resulted in scar-less healing, growth of hair follicles, complete wound coverage and the progressive regeneration of all skin layers, the company said.
As pig skin is more complex and robust than human skin, successful swine data is typically seen as a precursor to effectiveness in human trials. PolarityTE expects to begin a human trial later this year and the cell therapy could hit the market 12 to 18 months thereafter, said Lough.
“If clinically successful, the PolarityTE platform could deliver the first scientific breakthrough in wound healing and reconstructive surgery in nearly half a century,” he added.