Over the past decade, artificial-skin products--made from scaffolds of collagen, the molecule that gives skin its structure and elasticity--have drastically improved burn victims' chances of survival. Large sheets of the flexible mesh placed over open wounds encourage growth of new dermis, the bottom layer of skin, which does not regenerate under normal circumstances. Surgeons can then transplant small pieces of the patient's epidermis, the top layer of skin, which grows and spreads over the newly grown dermis.
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