British scientists claim they can grow new tissue in minutes, a development they say may one day allow doctors to make tissue implants at the bedside.

Currently, scientists take between one and 12 weeks to make tissues to be used for operations such as skin grafts by building a scaffold of cells that grow in the lab, reports the online edition of BBC News.

Professor Robert Brown and colleagues at University College, London, investigated whether they could cut this time down.

They experimented on making a tissue called collagen, which acts as a structural support for skin, bones and tendons.

Sucking out the water using a technique called plastic compression meant they could make the collagen in just over half an hour.

The tissue was not only made much faster than that made in the conventional tissue engineering way, it also appeared to be stronger, more like real collagen, the report said.

“Our method offers a simple and controllable means of quickly engineering tissue structures,” Brown said.

“The next stage is to test whether this method could help repair injured tissues. Ultimately, the goal is to design a rapid, inexpensive, automatic process for creating strong tissues which could supply hospital surgical units with a tool kit of spare parts for reconstructive surgery.

“The speed and control it offers means that our method could one day be used to produce implant tissue at the bedside or in the operating theatre,” he said.

More here.