A hospital institution in Marseille, in southern France, hopes to achieve a global precedent within months, which is to make skin using a 3D printer, and then implant it on a patient’s body, thanks to a laser machine invented by a French startup, which is a “real revolution”, according to Florence Sebatier. Head of the Cell Transplantation and Cell Therapy Laboratory at La Concepcion Hospital in Marseille, where a robotic bioprinting platform developed by the “Poitis” company “from a Greek verb meaning “manufacture”) was recently installed.
“It is an advanced technological tool that will allow us to manufacture bioprinted skin that can be used in humans for the first time in the world,” says Sebatier. The first clinical trials are scheduled for the first quarter of 2022, expressing “optimism” about the approval of the process by the French Medicines Agency.
The first transplants are scheduled to be performed on 12 patients, who are “young people with a high ability to heal” and “minor wounds”. They will be “followed up for two years”, which is the time required to check “the stability of things”.
“We had to adjust the settings of the machine and improve the properties of the bioprinted skin,” explains plastic surgeon Maxime Abilan Lopez. There was animal testing. In the end, everything we expected came true. We get skin with a good level of blood vessels, with very satisfactory mechanical properties.” He describes the innovation as a “very powerful therapeutic weapon.”
In plastic surgery, skin grafting is a common procedure, but no technology has been able to effectively replace the patient’s own skin grafts.
Dominique Casanova, head of the department of plastic and reconstructive surgery at La Conception Hospital, explains that “the importance of bioprinted skin lies in offering patients, from a small sample, the possibility of augmenting and reprinting their skin with complete engineering.