London: British scientists are on track
to soon manufacture body tissue -- new skin, blood and even
bones, a groundbreaking development which will benefit people
suffering from damaged eyes, broken bones or scarred skin.
A team, led by team leader Robert Brown at University
College London, has already pioneered a cutting-edge, simple,
technique that will enable doctors to make customised human
tissue, such as corneas, skin, nerve implants and cartilage,
within minutes for patients.
In fact, they`ve developed a process that manufactures
human tissue by squeezing out the water from collagen -- the
protein which makes up 25 percent of our body weight, `The
Skin, bone, cartilage and ligaments are all made up
of layers of collagen or connective tissue. However, this can
wear out as we get older; it can also be damaged by sporting
injuries or accidents, the scientists said.
According to them, the ability to develop made-to-
measure layers of tissue or "spare parts" for a particular
person will revolutionise reconstructive surgery as it could
simplify imperfect, expensive and invasive operations such as
corneal transplants, skin grafts and total knee replacements.
The ability to generate all kinds of human tissue,
including diseased tissue such as tumours, would be used to
test new drugs and eradicate the need for many of the animal
experiments employed in early drug trials.
The scientists have already made skin-and ligament
-equivalent tissue using a prototype machine, but a machine
for widespread use in operating theatres is being developed
by the Automation Partnership, based in Cambridge.
This will be ready in six months and available for
clinical trials within a year, according to the company`s
Chief Executive David Newble.
Doctors in operating theatres will eventually be
able to programme the "tissue machine" -- which will be small
enough to sit on a workbench – to produce "spare parts" within