Regenerating Skin


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Treatment for severe burns usually includes skin grafts and months to years of therapy, all of which can be excruciatingly painful. Now, a new product that may change all that- a way to regenerate a patient’s own fully-functional skin in the lab. So far, it’s worked on pig skin, but SkinTE could be life-changing for burn patients.

“I just went to work one morning like, and turned the equipment on, and it flashed the whole first floor that I was in the middle of,” James Hillman explained to Ivanhoe.

A propane explosion four years ago left James Hillman with second and third degree burns on over half his body.

Hillman continued, “I remember laying there and like, seeing my tendon in my hands it was burned so bad I had skin dripping off of it.”

James spent three months in a burn unit. He had numerous skin grafts, where doctors move healthy skin over burns, and years of painful therapy. Biotech company PolarityTE has developed a treatment to grow a patient’s own skin, potentially eliminating the need for skin grafts. A medical professional takes a two centimeter graft from the patient. And ships it off in the SkinTE box to a lab where the skin is grown in a 3D system on a platform, in a matter of hours

“It’s then returned to the patient and it literally grows on the patient so the patient is used as its own medium,” Stephen Milner, MD, BDS, DSc, FRCSE, FACS, Chief Clinical Officer at PolarityTE, Inc. explained. (Read Full Interview)

Here’s the gel in the biopsy wound. It regenerates to full thickness, fully functional skin with new hair follicles in about three weeks.

“What’s so amazing to me is that one you won’t need all those donor sites. So it does away with all that extra part of the body being scarred,” Linda Ware, OT, CHT, Coordinator of Burn Rehab for Johns Hopkins Burn Center stated.

Hillman said, “Oh, it’s mind-blowing, so exciting. I mean not to have the skin grafts that I have.”

James is studying to be a burn nurse and someday, maybe helping patients with SkinTE.

SkinTE is registered with the FDA, which means it is available in the U.S. There will be a limited release in 15 centers around the country, and a wider release next year. PolarityTE also hopes to begin a pilot human clinical trial later this year although that’s not required by the FDA.

Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Jason Ball, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:          MB #4334

BACKGROUND: A burn is damage done to the body’s tissues, usually caused by heat, chemicals, sunlight, electricity, or radiation. Scalds from hot steam and liquids, flammable liquids and gases, as well as burning fires are the most common causes of burns. Another kind may be inhalation injury, caused by breathing in smoke. Burns are classified into three degrees; first degree damages only the outer layer of skin, second degree damages the outer layer and the layer underneath it, and finally third degree damages or destroys the deepest layer of skin and the tissues underneath. Burns can cause blistering, swelling, scarring and in serious cases shock or even death. They can also leave a person prone to infection because they damage the skin’s protective barrier.


TREATMENT: For minor burns cool the burn to help soothe the pain. Hold the burned area under cool not cold water for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pain eases. Remove rings or other tight items from the burned area. Don’t break small blisters, apply moisturizers or Aloe Vera. If needed, take over the counter pain reliever, and consider a tetanus shot if you are not up to date. For major burn treatment,call 911 or emergency medical help. Until help arrives, protect the burned person from further harm. Check for signs of circulation, don’t immerse large severe burns in cold water (it could cause a serious loss of body heat). Elevate the burned area; raise it above heart level if possible. Finally, use a cool, moist bandage or clean cloth to cover the burned area.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: While skin grafts and therapy are options for severe burn victims, the process can be long and painful for the patients. Now, a company called PolarityTE is using investigational platform technology to regenerate human skin to full-thickness and full function. The products name is SkinTE, and the process may eventually allow a patient’s own skin to be fully expanded from a small skin biopsy, regenerating all layers (the epidermis and dermis), hair and appendages. This has never been done before.


MORE FROM DR. MILNER: “A medical provider takes a 2cm full-thickness graft from the patient, and ships it off in the provided SkinTE box for processing, which takes a matter of hours, enabling the SkinTE product to be returned to the provider within approximately 48 hours. SkinTE is registered with the FDA as a human cell, tissue, and cellular and tissue-based product (HCT/P), which means it is available for appropriate human use in the United States.  PolarityTE is currently in the process of initiating a pilot human clinical trial, although this is not required by the FDA because SkinTE is an HCT/P regulated solely under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act, which does not require premarket approval or clearance from the FDA.”

(Source: Stephen Milner, MD, BDS, DSc, FRCSE, FACS)


Naveen Krishnan

Courtney Cushnir

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Stephen Milner, MD, BDS, DSc, FRCSE, FACS

Read the entire Q&A