It still seems like science fiction to many, but for more than a decade now mankind has had the technology to regenerate human tissue to repair large or complex wounds resulting from burns, gashes, and surgery.
Earlier we reported on a product from Lifecell called Alloderm that is one of the leaders in this space. Today we would like to introduce you to Cook Biotech, another player in the fascinating field of tissue regeneration medicine. Cook Biotech offers a family of tissue regeneration products that it markets under the name of Surgisis Biodesign.
Cook’s Biodesign family of products have been used to treat nearly one million patients worldwide, aiding in the regeneration of tissue for hernias, large wounds, plastic surgery, colon and rectal surgery, and a slew of other applications.
I found an excellent article here that clearly explains the Biodesign product for those of us that are not tissue experts. Also, here is a clean, short description of Biodesign from the Purdue Research Park. A few cool quotes follow:
Once in place, Surgisis Biodesign provides a scaffold-like structure and communicates with the body, signaling surrounding tissue to grow across the scaffold. Over time, Surgisis Biodesign is remodeled into fully vascularized tissue, and becomes as strong as the patient’s own tissue. As part of the complete healing process the scaffold is slowly replaced by human tissue and becomes undetectable — providing a permanent repair without a permanent material.
According to the American Association of Tissue Banks, one of 20 people will need some sort of soft tissue transplant in their lifetime.
The human body is great at healing itself in the case of small wounds or incisions, but in the case of a severe burn or surgery, the wound is simply too large or complex for the body to regenerate the required tissue properly. For these situations you need a product like Biodesign, which is a thin sheet (called matrix) that serves as a scaffold for new skin to grow and regenerate upon. In the past, synthetic materials such as nylon have been used as a scaffold. These materials are quite limited in their ability to help new tissue grow, are highly susceptible to infection, and stay in the body forever which can cause future complications for the patient. Cook Biotech’s Biodesign product represents a new generation of products based on biological materials that are more capable and more versatile than the synthetic products of the past.
Surgisis Biodesign is a porcine (pig) derived acellullar matrix that can be purchased in different sizes and with different properties based on the desired application. The Biodesign acellular matrix is tissue taken from a very special part of a pig’s intestine that has had its cells removed, leaving behind a valuable collection of proteins, chemical signals, and structural material that human skin cells can populate and vascularize.
Inserting matrix derived from pigs into your body might seem a bit creepy, but keep in mind that the other major competitor in this market, Alloderm, comes from human cadavers! Whether from pigs or cadavers, these matrix products have an amazing ability to help the body regenerate tissue and they have saved or greatly benefited the lives of millions of people. Acellular matrix is a very safe product: it is sterilized through a vigorous process and devoid of any potentially harmful cells, dna, or microbes that may have resided in the originating host.
An advantage of the porcine based matrix from Biodesign is that it is cheaper and the supply is virtually unlimited as compared to human cadaver based solutions such as Alloderm. In order to be more competitive on price and quantity of supply Lifecell has recently launched a porcine based product called Strattice to compete with Cook Biotech’s Biodesign, yet Biodesign appears to be leaps and bounds ahead of Strattice. The secret behind the success of Biodesign is that it comes from a very special part of the pig’s intestine (submucosa) that has just the right chemical makeup to serve as an incredible tissue regeneration matrix in humans. Strattice, on the other hand, is obtained from pig dermis (skin) and although logically it seems as though this should be a superior strategy, it turns out that pig dermis is not nearly as versatile or as effective as intestinal submucosa when it comes to creating the ideal matrix.