McMaster in Hamilton founds burn injury research program that is working on 3-D skin


Published July 14, 2022 at 5:16 pm

A renowned burns specialist and his entire lab are continuing their work to develop 3-D printed skin at McMaster University in Hamilton.

Earlier this month, Dr. Marc Jeschke began a dual role at McMaster and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). Jeschke, who previously worked at the University of Toronto and Sunnybrook hospital, is now a professor of surgery at Mac and vice-president, research at HHS as well as medical director of its burns unit.

As part of the move, Jeschke is bringing his nearly 20-scientist burn research lab to Hamilton. The lab is supported by a gift from Charles and Margaret Juravinski through the Juravinski Research Institute. In a release from the university, Jeschke said McMaster is uniquely positioned for work across verious medical disciplines, since there are many partnerships with HHS and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hmailton.

“(McMaster) offers a more intimate environment than other institutions of its calibre and the quality of collaboration here is outstanding,” said Jeschke.

People who suffer extensive and serious burns often end up with scarring for life. The Jeschke-headed lab has been developing a skin derivative that uses a patient’s own stem cells. It might one day greatly reduce scarring for people with extensive burns.

In 2020, researchers and developers from U of T and Sunnybrook became the first Canadian team to be honoured with a top prize from the 3D Pioneers Challenge for building and refining of the ReverTome handheld 3D skin printer. The printer can make new skin grown from stem cells in order to improve healing. Jeschke and his team contributed stem cell research to help inform development of the device.

The 3D Pioneers Challenge honours innovations in digital printing. The U of T-Sunnybrook team won from among a field of 52 finalists from 28 nations.

Jeschke said in the release that the therapy his lab is testing proved effective in porcine models. The clinical trial stage would be next.

“The human body is so complex, but this stem-cell based therapy, if successful, will certainly change the way we care for burns and other injuries,” he said.

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