Scientists have grown skin that can be worn like clothes

Usually, bioengineered skin helps burn victims. However, it is produced only in the form of flat

sheets. Now scientists have developed a method for growing the bioengineered material in three-dimensional form. It can be worn on the body like a piece of clothing.

Flat sheets of bioengineered leather are suitable fortransplants on relatively flat parts of the body, but are not suitable for, for example, hands. In such cases, it is usually necessary to staple several sheets together to accommodate all the nooks and crannies - this is a very laborious process.

Scientists at Columbia University have developedmore convenient alternative. To begin with, they used a 3D scan of the part of the body that required a transplant. Then, using a 3D printer, they created a full-size, hollow, permeable model of the part.

The biologists then seeded it with fibroblast (form connective tissue), collagen (gives structure) and keratinocyte cells (make up the outer layer of the skin). The inside of the model was filled with nutrient medium.

Once the cells have turned into real skin,it was removed from the model and "put on" the damaged part of the body. The whole process took about three weeks. How much is required for the cultivation of ordinary flat sheets of leather.

In the laboratory, scientists tested 3D transplants,made from human skin cells, on the hind legs of mice. The operation itself took about 10 minutes, and the grafts were fully integrated into the surrounding skin of the animal after four weeks. It turned out that whole grafts are mechanically stronger than if they were made from several sheets sewn together.

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