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Growing Artificial Skin With Spider Silk

“Hanna Wendt, a tissue engineer in the Department of Plastic, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery at Medical School Hannover in Germany, along with her colleagues, recently published a study that suggests spider silk may hold the key to creating artificial skin for burn victims and other patients requiring skin grafts.

The researchers essentially milked the silk glands of golden orb web spiders, spooling the silk fibers as they came out. Next, the dragline silk was woven onto a rectangular steel frame, 0.7 mm thick, resulting in an easy-to-handle meshwork frame that could be sterilized.

Wendt and her colleagues found that human skins cell types could flourish on these meshwork frames if they were properly nurtured with nutrients, warmth and air.

“After two weeks of cultivating single single fibroblasts, keratinocytes were added to generate a bilayered skin model, consisting of dermis and epidermis equivalents,” the study states.”

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