Collaboration aims to recreate human cells for R&D

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Personal care Cosmetics

A team of researchers in France has embarked upon a project to develop human cellular systems that could be used in the development of cosmetic products.

Known as the Ship-In project, it has the endorsement of the Alsace BioValley cluster, based in Alsace and is co-sponsored by two other France-based organisations, Cancer Bio Santé and Medecin.

Aiming to serve both the personal care and pharmaceutical industries, the goal will be to develop and utilise experimental cellular models that are both efficient to use and provide reliable results.

Until now, the only alternative for this area of research has been to use stem cells extracted from human embryo, a controversial form of experiment that poses difficulties with respect to availability.

Alternative to use of stem cells

Likewise, because of the controversy surrounding its use in experiments, it is also subject to strong governance because of ethical issues.

Because of these issues, this form of experiment is both difficult to carry out, expensive and time-consuming, ultimately hampering the speed-to-market for industries where short and efficient development time is crucial.

The work of the research project centres on the use of human cells, ‘reprogramming’ them for use as multi-purpose cells that can be tailored towards specific areas of development.

The Ship-In project will be concerned with enhancing this line of research, ultimately to finding new ways to cater to the research and development needs of both the personal care and pharmaceutical industries.

Unlimited supply of human cells

The project should be able to help industries tap into ‘an unlimited supply’ of human cells that meets quality criteria that is claimed not to be available with alternative testing methods.

“Ship-In presents a unique opportunity for participating in the development of scientific-advances that have been unanimously hailed at a world level,”​ said Nicholas Carboni, director of the Alsace BioValley Cluster.

The project will cost an estimated €4.4m, of which €2.1m will be funded by the French government.

The race to find alternative testing methods

The race to fine alternatives to human cells is important to the cosmetics industry because it is currently working hard to meet EU requirements that will soon outlaw the testing of cosmetics ingredients on animals.

Back in September the EU and industry body Colipa agreed to joint funding of .€50m for projects aimed at developing alternative testing methods.

The EU agreed to ban the testing of animals on personal care products in 2002, after a total of 13 years of drawn out and highly politicized negotiations.

The ruling aimed to outlaw the practice eradicated by the end of this year, 2009, with the exception of certain animal tests to determine the effects on fertility or overall toxicity, which are due to be finally phased out by 2013.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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