The Chilean researcher Tomás Egaña presented yesterday the research he has created the first version of photosynthetic skin that produces and releases oxygen, and will be able to regenerate human tissue.
In the presentation at the Catholic University of Chile, Egaña, Doctor of Human Biology and Pharmacology declared that after eight years of analysis and testing with animals (rats, pigs and fish), the first clinical trial at the Hospital del Salvador, in Santiago, with 20 patients who had suffered from trauma.
"This step, lasting six months, is small but very important to show the safety of technology. If we can do it safely, we can apply it to other types of patients and diseases, such as organ transplants and cancer patients," said Egaña in statements .
This study, conducted at the Catholic University of Chile, has developed a first technique for making a skin transplant through the implantation of genetically modified microalgae to produce oxygen and regenerate the area.
"90% of the cells in our body are not human. The human body is a true ecosystem where microorganisms and human cells coexist. What we want to find out is what happens in the body if we implant microalgae that produces photosynthesis," said Egaña during the presentation.
Photosynthesis is the process performed by plants when they break water molecules, with the energy of light and emits the oxygen consumed by all living beings on the planet, says the Chilean scientist.
"The big question is what we can achieve if people were able to reproduce this process in a therapeutic context, because there are many diseases caused by oxygen deficiency such as bleeding, heart attack or large wounds that do not heal," added Egaña.
The first line of the study focuses on possible applications of this technique in wounds to acidify them through creams, dressings or sutures containing microorganisms that perform photosynthesis.
While the second line examines the application of this technique in organ transplants, to ensure that the organs live further outside the body and in oncological therapies to achieve greater elimination of cancer cells.
At the beginning of research at the University of Lübeck in Germany, where Egaña received a doctorate, he successfully developed a test where he injected a fish embryo, some microalgae and successfully merged "Without the algae they will kill the embryo and without embryos killing the algae."
Avoid rejection. As investigated by researcher Tomás Egaña, the key to this first clinical trial will be accurate to avoid rejection of patients for these transplants.
Remove the implant. If the 20 patients successfully receive skin transplant, the idea is that when the skin is regenerated, the implant is removed from the same body or removed.
Implementation. The next six months will be crucial for determining the possible implementation of this technology in the future of medicine.