Researching the future of Surgery today

“This significant investment and support from The Scar Free Foundation and Health and Care Research Wales will accelerate our ongoing research efforts to offer pioneering treatment options to patients and recruit further world class researchers. The ability to successfully 3D print living tissue has been highlighted by the Royal College of Surgeons as one of the futures of surgery and the UK Government selected regenerative medicine as one of the ‘Eight great technologies’ to propel the UK to future growth. Successful translation of this research programme will transform the future of surgery, removing the need to transfer tissue from one part of the body to another and avoid the associated pain and scarring. Although we are currently focused on cartilage, the scientific concepts and platform technologies our work is based on can be applied to tissue types such as blood vessel, nerve, bone, skin and fat which will enhance the impact significantly.” 

Professor Iain Whitaker MA Cantab PhD FRCS
Chair in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery 
Director, Reconstructive Surgery & Regenerative Medicine Research Centre
Surgical Specialty Lead, Health & Care Research Wales

Tissue Engineering & 3D Bioprinting

3D bioprinting is an automated, computer-aided deposition of cells, biomaterials and biomolecules Recent advances in cell biology, biomaterials, nanotechnology and biomanufacture methods place us in a unique position to engineer replacement tissue in the laboratory for surgical reconstruction. 3D bioprinting of tissue would remove the morbidity associated with the use of autologous tissue or long-term immunosuppression with the potential to shift the paradigm in reconstructive surgery and revolutionise patient care. Working with the engineers at the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating we are testing custom-made bench top bioprinters using cellular bioinks.

Health Informatics & Transformation of Surgical Service Delivery

Our AFFECT and RESECT research programmes examine the consequences of facial scarring and the nature and state of care currently provided to skin cancer patients.

Our analysis of patient facial scarring data will improve the awareness of affective disorders and provide justification for improved psychological services. By identifying the population at risk of skin cancer, and by highlighting disparities in care and unnecessary treatment while identifying best practice, we will be in a position to make recommendations for re-designing a service that is safer, more effective, more convenient and more cost efficient.