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Magic Gun Sprays Skin Cells to Heal Burns Almost Instantly

| 3 Feb 2011 19:59

The future is here with a new experimental process that sprays the victim's skin cells onto burns to heal them in days instead of months.

It's called a "skin cell gun" by Jorg C. Gerlach of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. His team has been working on the process for a long time and just now has entered the experimental phase using real human burn victims. First, the scientists harvest healthy skin cells from unharmed portions of the victim's bodies and isolate the stem cells in order to put them in a water solution. Gerlach's gun then sprays those cells directly onto the burn wound as if painting a house. The process of taking the sample, isolating the cells and then spraying them on the wound takes only 1.5 hours, and results in drastically quickening the healing process for burn victims. In the following video from National Geographic, the example patient is Matt Urum, a state trooper from Pennsylvania who suffered 2nd degree burns when someone threw a cup of gasoline on a bonfire. He was treated on a Friday and by Monday his skin was completely healed.

Here's a non-blocked video for you international folks, if you can deal with the fact that it's mirrored.

"It looked like something you'd see in Star Wars," Urum said of the skin cell gun.

I'm inclined to agree. This technology seems like it could save hundreds of lives and ease the suffering of thousands of people subjected to painful and disfiguring burns. So far over 12 burn victims have been successfully treated using the skin gun, and more tests and studies will be conducted before it sees wide usage in our hospitals. But if the Urum's case is any indication, it will be nothing short of amazing.

Famed science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke's third law states that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Therefore, the skin cell gun is magical.

Source: National Geographic

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