Scientists create epidermis that could replace animal testing

By Amanda Stewart,

Artificial epidermis grown by scientists in a lab could potentially replace animals in drug and cosmetic testing.

The findings of this study are published in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

According to The Daily Mail, scientists, in both the United Kingdom and the United States, have been able to produce fragments of epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) using stem cells.

The epidermis is in place in order to protect the body from the external environment. Until now, the engineers working on recreating the epidermis have been unable to create a layer of skin that is functional as a protective barrier.

They believe that in the near future these layers of skin grown in a lab could limit the suffering of animal testing, according to Science World Report.

"The ability to obtain an unlimited number of genetically identical units can be used to study a range of conditions where the skin's barrier is defective due to mutations in genes involved in skin barrier formation, such as ichthyosis (dry, flaky skin) or atopic dermatitis," said Theodora Mauro, a researcher from the study. "We can use this model to study how the skin barrier develops normally, how the barrier is impaired in different diseases and how we can simulate its repair and recovery."

These skin samples could also lead to more understanding of skin disorders, such as eczema.



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