When someone survives being severely burnt, only to die from their injuries later, it's not usually the burn, itself, that kills them. Instead, it's the infections that set into unprotected flesh before the skin has a chance to heal. This National Geographic video clip is about a new way of treating burn victims—closing open wounds faster by spraying them with a protective coating of skin cells grown from the patient's own.
Quick note: The skin gun uses adult stem cells, but it's not likely to be affected by the problems with adult stem cells that I told you about earlier today. That's because this technique doesn't rely on forcing a specialized cell to become un-specialized.
All adults have stem cells in their bodies, it's just that these stem cells can only become one, specific type of cell. Skin stem cells naturally grow into new skin cells. All you have to do, in this case, is grow a lot of them in a short amount of time. That's easier than trying to make a skin stem cell become a bone cell, or a neuron.
Thanks to Dean-o!
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.