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Laboratory Grown Skin to Replace Animals for Testing

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Last Updated: Jul 30, 2016

Here is one for the animal rights activists.

For a long time animals are used as guinea pigs for cosmetics and drug testing, but human skin could now replace it.

According to scientists from UK, laboratory grown skin could finally replace animals for testing cosmetics and other drugs.

Scientists said using human skin is a cost-effective alternative to using animals in cosmetics and drugs testing.

Skin can keep the water in the body and the microbes out because it is a natural barrier. The outermost layer of the skin is called epidermis and it provides a natural protective barrier to the body.

Now, a team from King’s College London was able to grow a small amount of human skin from stem cells. Stem cells are considered as the master cells of the human body.

There have been experiments before where stem cells are turned into skin, however, according to researches, the skin produced by King’s College is the closest they could get to real skin which consist of a permeable barrier.

Not only that, past experiments have successfully grown epidermis out of human skin cells, which were removed from the body using biopsy. However, it is this latest experiment from King’s College that brought this experiment to the next level.

They used reprogrammed skin cells during the experiment. This allows them to make an unlimited supply of the major kind of skin cell in the epidermis. They grew that skin cell in an atmosphere with low humidity, which helps them produce that barrier that is the same as the real skin.

According to the King’s College London head researcher Dr Dusko Ilic, this is a new model for testing cosmetics and drugs as an alternative for animal testing. It is cheap and renewable, according to Ilic.

The scientists produced new skin cells by rejuvenating adult cells. This method can be used to experiment and come up with a new skin disease treatment. According to researcher Dr Theodora Mauro, this method could be used to study certain skin conditions like eczema, flaky skin, dry skin, and ichthyosis.

She said, this method could be used to learn more about the skin barrier; how it develops normally, how diseases affect it, and how it is triggered to repair and heal.

Animal rights activist Humane Society International is very happy about the new research, they welcome it with open arms.

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