Firefighters’ Burn and Surgical Laboratory Supports Development of ReCell and Other Skin Regeneration Technologies | MedStar Health

Firefighters’ Burn and Surgical Laboratory Supports Development of ReCell and Other Skin Regeneration Technologies

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WASHINGTON, D.C., (July 27, 2016) — As part of a multicenter clinical research study, the Firefighters’ Burn and Surgical Laboratory at MedStar Washington Hospital Center is helping to test the effectiveness of an investigational device called ReCell® by Avita Medical that enables clinicians to harvest skin cells from small sections of a patient’s own healthy donor skin, yielding a potential treatment for skin regeneration in a burn injury area up to 80 times the size of the piece of donor skin.  The product aims to improve upon traditional skin grafting and meshing techniques by providing coverage to a larger wound area and achieving better long-term scar outcomes, while using a smaller piece of donor skin.

In addition to the clinical trials, Avita Medical and MedStar have agreed that MedStar will further research its product using laboratory assays and testing. “We’ve taken on a series of preclinical studies for Avita that are aimed at focusing on various aspects of this device, including testing the enzymatic, or skin digesting, components in differing conditions and also looking at next-generation augmentation of their technology,” says Lauren Moffatt, PhD, director of the Burn Research Laboratory.

The burn research team is leading dozens of other clinical research trials aimed at providing burn patients with readily available wound healing, and skin-expanding and regenerating options, similar to spray-on skin.

The unique and large biospecimen repository at the Burn Research Laboratory enables coordinated tissue processing and research, is a valuable asset in this specialized field and makes the lab an especially sought-after and qualified group for this type of research.

The research team also has plans for studies involving lasers, Moffatt says. “Lasers are being used a lot for scar treatment and skin pigment abnormalities but the literature on how and why they are effective and under what conditions is limited and consists of mostly case reports, not controlled trials. It’s another area we want to help pioneer in order to provide new, targeted therapies to burn patients.”

Jeffrey Shupp, MD, director of the Burn Research Program and co-founder of the burn research the laboratory says, “Adding to and expanding the research portfolio of the Burn Center has really completed the multidisciplinary team we have here. We’re focused on ground-up innovation, thinking differently and finding revolutionary ways to treat our patients.”

The Burn Center is a 24-bed facility that meets stringent criteria and is the region’s only adult burn center.  More than 500 acute burn-injured patients are admitted for treatment each year, with another 500 treated as outpatients.


About MedStar Health Research Institute

The MedStar Health Research Institute is the research arm of MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region. MHRI provides scientific, administrative and regulatory support for research programs throughout the MedStar Health system. MHRI’s expertise includes translational research into disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. These programs complement the key clinical services and teaching programs in the 10 MedStar hospitals and other MedStar entities. For more information, visit

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit