Diseases and injuries to the skin can take many different forms, some as a primary illness, such as a burn, cut or genetic skin disorders, and others that are a side effect or secondary symptom of a different disease, such as diabetic ulcers. Wound management has greatly advanced over the years but treatments still fall short of healing about half of all chronic wounds.
Currently, skin grafts grown from epidermal stem cells can be used to treat severe burns and other similar types of sores. But although this has saved lives, these grafts are expensive and come with additional challenges: first, the graft does not replace all of the layers and functions of the skin (for example, hair follicles and sweat glands), and second, if the replacement skin comes from a donor there is risk of rejection by the patient. Research is underway, some with early stage clinical trials, aimed at overcoming these challenges and in making skin grafts and wound healing more effective and less expensive in the future.