Flushing Hospital touts synthetic skin

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Flushing Hospital’s latest treatment for non−healing wounds sounds like something out of science fiction, but doctors at the medical facility said lab−grown skin is working wonders for their patients.

Doctors and surgeons at Flushing Hospital have recently been using Apligraf therapy to treat certain kinds of wounds that are not healing naturally. Dr. Kenneth Francis, a plastic surgeon at the hospital, said Apligraf, applied in the form of a patch to a wound, kick− starts the body’s natural healing process as if it was the patient’s skin — because it very nearly is.

“Some of our patients have benefited tremendously from Apligraf therapy,” Francis said. “Unlike other therapies that do not use living human tissue, Apligraf has natural, biological healing properties — growth factors, cells, nutrients and proteins.”

Grown in a lab from human cells, the Apligraf patch uses skin that contains both an outer protective layer of cells and an inner layer of cells — vital for healing.

According to Organogenesis, its manufacturer, Apligraf therapy helps heal and repair chronic sores and regenerates skin by stimulating the body’s natural healing process. It delivers biological healing substances — fresh cells, nutrients and proteins — directly to the wound and naturally kick starts the healing cycle.

The treatment also has no lasting effects on the patient’s body because even though Apligraf maintains the properties of human skin and delivers them directly to the wound, it does not contain pigment cells, cells from the immune system, blood vessels, hair follicles or sweat glands.

So far, the patients using the treatment have shown marked improvement.

“We began using Apligraf last year and have an 80 percent success rate among these patients,” said Frances Pugliese, director of Flushing Hospital’s Wound Care Center. “Most of them begin to see improvements in their wounds within four to six weeks.”

For additional information about the Wound Care Center, please contact Flushing Hospital’s public affairs department at 718−206−6020.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

Updated 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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