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Lab-grown, pigmented skin is “critical development” for dermatology

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Labskin and the University of Bradford’s Centre for Skin Sciences reveals the first-ever commercially available lab-grown ‘pigmented’ skin-equivalent. 

There’s been a major breakthrough in skin health tech – as scientists unveil a commercially-available, lab-grown, pigmented skin which mimics human skin in thickness and appearance. 

Scientists have been able to incorporate melanocytes – the cells that give skin its pigment – into Labskin’s full thickness human skin models that naturally copy the skin’s microbiome. 

The joint project has been a breakthrough in the development of laboratory grown human skin equivalents. 

AI-driven analytics 

As the world’s leading consumer health and skincare companies use the company’s artificial intelligence-driven data analytics for research, Labskin has conducted thousands of tests on skin care products, cosmetics, health care, drug delivery and wound care.

Chief scientist at LabskinDr David Caballero-Lima, said “This new model is allowing us and our clients to get a deeper understanding about melanin production in healthy and pathological stages, skin toxicology, drug metabolism and the host microbe interaction.

“It’s a critical development for the cosmetics and dermatological sectors to provide even more precise testing platforms to deliver first class, safe and efficacious products.”

Several scientific publications have demonstrated that skin of different ethnicities present different microbiomes. 

These new ‘pigmented’ models incorporating melanocytes allow Labskin to further assess safety and efficacy of skincare ingredients and formulations on a greater diversity of skin types, integrating ethnic skin with various microbiomes.

The presence of melanocytes on the skin model also permits the study of causes and alleviation of hyperpigmentation.

It creates an ideal model to study UV exposure response and photo-toxicity, and opens the door to establish reproducible melanoma models for the pharmaceutical industry.

Known as ‘Labskin M’ the new, commercially available ‘pigmented’ skin model is a result of the Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP), a UK government program established to encourage collaboration between business and universities. 

Funding was provided by Labskin and Innovate UK), which provides support to organisations to make new products and services.

Dr Jacobo Elies Gomez, academic supervisor and assistant professor in pharmacology in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Bradford said: “Labskin M represents a state-of-the-art organotypic model for the investigation of the biology and cellular behaviour of melanocytes in health and disease”.

“There is no other commercially available system of lab-grown skin that includes melanocytes.

“This opens up huge opportunities for research and could lead to new discoveries, for example with skin cancers. Being able to offer this commercially makes it much easier for other sectors to become involved.”

Leading the way in lab-grown skin tech

Prof Julie Thornton, director of the Centre of Skin Sciences, added: “Our work is really leading the way in new cutting-edge technology for human skin biology and the skin microbiome, with the advancement of superior ex vivo human skin models.”

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