QUÉBEC, Oct. 4, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - After having successfully treated 14 patients, a team of researchers at Université Laval's Research Centre: The Tissue Engineering Laboratory (LOEX), led by professors at Université Laval and researchers at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Centre, François A. Auger, Lucie Germain and Véronique Moulin, has just published their results pertaining to a new technique for burn patient treatment in the European Cells and Materials (eCM) Journal.
Severe burn patients are usually treated with autografts, that is, by grafting sections of spared healthy skin taken from other places on the patient's own body. This technique has its limits, especially in the case of patients with extensive burns where not enough healthy skin remains to provide autografts for the treatment of the entire burned surface.
There are a few laboratories around the world that are currently equipped to produce a cutaneous covering layer for those patients whose remaining healthy skin does not suffice for treatment. However, this laboratory-produced skin is an incomplete reproduction of normal skin as it consists of only one of the three layers that make up the skin, namely the epidermis.
The tissue-engineering expertise of the LOEX team has permitted the development of a new method of skin graft reconstruction from the burn patient's own cells. In contrast to other laboratory-produced skin, these grafts contain two of the skin's layers, the dermis and the epidermis. These are called bilamellar grafts because of the presence of the additional deeper dermal layer, which is important for the ensuing graft support, stability and suppleness in the long term.
These bilamellar skin grafts have been successfully used to treat 14 patients to date. A single skin biopsy with the surface area of a 2-dollar coin is taken and sent to the LOEX for the extraction of the different cells, including stem cells. After approximately two months of cell culture, strips of skin are ready to be grafted by a surgeon.
Unlike epidermal grafts, the bilamellar grafts developed by the LOEX remain flexible and thin after their take on the patient and thus reduce the need for touch-up surgery, which is a major advantage for patients.
Doctor Amélie Dumas of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval treated a patient with the LOEX bilamellar grafts: "The bilamellar skin grafts we obtained from the LOEX played a vital role in the survival of our severe burn patients when the available skin surface for autografts was insufficient. For one of our patients who had burns over 90% of his body, his two legs as well as part of his chest were covered with the bilamellar grafts. We noted that these cultured grafts had a clearly superior clinical aspect and suppleness, and that they greatly reduced the thick scarring that can provoke residual deformations. I thank the LOEX team for the priceless help that they have provided to these people."
Encouraged by these results, the research team continues its work. "Now that we have demonstrated the possibilities offered by autologous skin produced in the laboratory, we are moving forward; this time with a Canada-wide clinical trial that will allow this innovative treatment to be offered to burn victims across all of Canada" declares Dr. François A. Auger, director of the LOEX.
About CHU de Québec-Université Laval
CHU de Québec-Université Laval is the largest university-affiliated hospital centre in Québec and one of the largest in Canada, encompassing member institutions CHUL, Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus, Hôpital Saint-Sacrement, and Hôpital Saint-François d'Assise. It provides general and specialized care as well as being Eastern Québec's main dispenser of highly specialized care, serving a catchment area population of close to two million. CHU's future focus and close ties with Université Laval feed into a mission that encompasses education, research—in which it excels in numerous specialized fields—and the assessment of healthcare technologies and treatment methods. It is staffed by over 12,500 employees along with 1,500 doctors, dentists, and pharmacists, 338 regular and associate researchers, 169 partner researchers, 927 graduate students, and 425 volunteers. www.chudequebec.ca
About the LOEX
One of the largest regenerative medicine laboratories in the world to be found under a single roof, the Université Laval's Research Centre in Experimental Organogenesis (LOEX) is an integral part of the regenerative medicine division of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Centre (CRCHU). For more than 30 years teams specialised in tissue engineering have been developing different kinds of laboratory-cultured tissues from human cells, including cutaneous, cardiovascular, orthopaedic, ocular, adipose and neurologic tissues.
The work carried out at the LOEX on tissue-engineered skin grafts has been made possible by:
- The Université Laval Foundation Research Chair on tissue-engineered organs and their clinical applications
- The Canada Research Chair (IRSC) in stem cells and tissue engineering (Tier 1 - senior)
- The Québec Firefighters' Foundation for Severe Burn Victims (FPQGB)
- The Canada Institutes of Health Research
- The Québec Cell, Tissue and Gene Therapy Network - ThéCell
- The CHU de Québec Foundation
- The collaboration of clinicians and professors from the University of Montréal, McGill University, the CHU de Québec-Université Laval, the CHU Sainte-Justine and the CHUM
SOURCE CHU de Québec-Université Laval
For further information: Kim Tardif, Communications Advisor, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Direction des ressources humaines, des communications et des affaires juridiques, CHU de Québec-Université Laval, 418 525-4387, Kim.firstname.lastname@example.org