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Posted on Sep 06, 2018, 8 p.m.

The area of regenerative tissue technology has been receiving remarkable activity levels that has resulted in products that have improved patient lives. The National Institute of Health has announced significant funding opportunities regarding this area in this past year alone.

Skin substitutes and facsimiles have been developed but none have achieved replication of full thickness autologous tissue that is the gold standard in healing wounds. The regenerative medicine market value is projected to hit $765 million this year according to SmartTrack, demonstrating desire to unlock new discoveries and approaches to achieve full thickness skin through regenerative technologies.

Growing chronic wound challenges are a serious problem that result in pain, suffering, and economic adversity. Data has shown that close to 5 million Americans suffer from non-healing chronic wounds or ulcers that represent $12 billion yearly in direct and indirect costs, according to the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care.

Issues with chronic non-healing wounds continue to worsen each year with demographics of an aging population despite progress made over recent years creating a growing demand for innovation. Amniotic membranes, shark cartilage, pig and cow skin derivatives have been used to heal ulcers with varying degrees of success via tissue regeneration limited by the products tending to be costly with unpredictable efficacy.

Nothing may ever works as well as skin grafting making use of the patient’s own skin to heal an open wound. Ultimate version of this is full thickness grafting delivering entire skin architecture to wound sites, which may be useful in certain isolated cases but is handicapped by associated complications and costs making it largely impractical as therapy for majority of non-healing wounds such as need for general anesthesia and use of OR as immediate hinderance; and average Healthcare Bluebook costs of more than $17,000 to go along with the pain, suffering, and scarring associated with the procedure.

Highly co-morbid patients with wound healing issues face challenges such as surgeons having to create new full thickness wounds that may also turn chronic causing patients to trade off one chronic wound for another in many cases due to poor vascular supply or other issues, that have the potential to result in 2 open non-healing wounds. In most cases even if the donor site does heal that area is still associated with significant scarring and pain.

Renewed interest in the field may soon result in state of the art changes. Wellman Center for Photomedicine at MGH have been focussed by performing groundbreaking research to better understandings of the effects of light energy in solving skin and wound related issues. Photothermolysis applications such as laser ablation and fractional resurfacing are now a clinical standard of care in treating a wide array of scar and related issues, that have recently adapted many principles and techniques to develop technologies beyond that of light and lasers.

ART which is short for Autologous Regeneration of Tissue is a novel technology developed by SevenOaks Biosystems after a decade of research and development is now ready to be introduced to clinical practice. With the push of a button the technology obtains and delivers hundreds of full thickness tissue microcolumns to a wound within a mere few minutes which is achieved using local anesthesia resulting in minimal donor site morbidity with harvest sites appearing to heal in days. The unadulterated full thickness tissue microcolumns contain growth factors, stem cells, and adnexal elements that are all key contributors to tissue regeneration that will for the first time provide opportunity to harvest full thickness autologous skin while causing minimal donor site trauma to use tissue for regenerative purposes in a variety of wound types. This biosystem technology is hoped to be an advancement that will help address many wound care challenges in the complex healthcare systems.

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