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Synthetic skin developed could replace need for animal testing

By Pooja Kondhia , 30-Nov-2011
Last updated on 30-Nov-2011 at 13:10 GMT2011-11-30T13:10:41Z

Synthetic skin developed could replace need for animal testing

Dermatology firm Evocutis has launched its first in-vitro skin model for the testing of anti-microbial and pre-biotic product claims that could replace the need to use animals to test cosmetics.

Animal replacement technology, LabSkin emulates living skin with both dermal and epidermal layers. The epidermal layer is differentiated, which provides a dry, air-exposed surface to test all aspects of skin microbiology, according to Evocutis.

Elaborating on the launch of the application, Dr Richard Bojar, chief scientific officer of Evocutis told, “LabSkin is validated for the natural growth of skin microbes.”

It can grow pathogens and so can be used to model the effects of anti-microbials on the balance of microbes for example reducing pathogens for hygiene applications. It also encourages skin microbes for skin health applications (prebiotics).”

LabSkin can simultaneously provide information on irritation, penetration, barrier function and skin structure, the company claims.

In addition Dr Bojar told the publication that benefits of LabSkin included that it is living and reactive unlike ex-vivo skin, that there are no ethical limitations to its use unlike human volunteers and that it is a viable replacement to animal testing as it is consistent and predictive of human skin responses.

Reducing test failures

CEO Dr Stephen Jones also commented on the impact to the industry stating that in the development of new cosmetics currently, “80-90 per cent fail when moving from laboratory testing into human clinical trials.”

This is primarily because skin testing models are unable to provide reliable data to support the product’s claims.”

He added that LabSkin’s ability to emulate real human skin provided cosmetic developers with a new research tool to reduce the developmental product failure rate. This also enabled gathering of statistical data to back up product claims and benefits.

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