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Insufficient evidence to back 'spray-on skin' yet, says NICE

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The National Institute for Health and Social Care is calling for views on draft guidance for a new “spray-on skin” device used in the treatment of acute burns.

The ReCell Spray-On Skin system shows promise, but there is not enough evidence from its use in practice to warrant a recommendation for its routine use, according to NICE’s medical technologies advisory committee.

It has provisionally recommended that research be carried out to address uncertainties about the device’s clinical and cost benefits, while also identifying which patients might gain most from its use in the NHS.

The ReCell Spray-On Skin system uses a small piece of the patient’s skin to create a solution that contains a suspension of skin cell components, which is then sprayed on to the site of the burn.

The cells in the suspension then quickly multiply and embed themselves in the base of the wound, with the regenerative properties of these skin cells intended to encourage the growth of healthy skin in order to heal the wound quickly.

As well as shorter wound healing time, the device’s manufacturer also claims it offers other benefits, such as: weekly rather than daily dressing changes, allowing earlier discharge; reduced likelihood of scarring and better matching of skin colour; and a reduction in skin graft donor site size and depth.

“It’s important that more data can be generated”

Carole Longson

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said around 12,000 people a year with burns required hospital admission and some of those need a long stay in hospital.

She confirmed the committee’s view that the ReCell device “shows potential to improve healing in acute burns”,

Professor Carole Longson

Carole Longson

“It’s essential to note that this draft recommendation for further research doesn’t mean that this promising device should not be used, as it’s important that more data can be generated to help inform further considerations on its clinical utility,” she added.

The cost of ReCell is £950 plus VAT per pack. IT is supplied as a sterile pack containing all the components needed to create and apply a skin cell suspension sufficient to treat up to 320 cm2 of skin.

The consultation on the draft guidance closes on 19 May.


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