3D Bioprinting’s Allure Attracts Blooming Interest from Skincare Industry

3D bioprinting’s allure has attracted blooming interest from the skincare industry, with three leading firms each launching skin printing initiatives in mid-2015 that they hope will revolutionise cosmetic testing. The initial challenge is making skin slivers for new product experiments conducted in multiwell analytical plates, but success could lead to much grander schemes. The expertise gained could feed into pharmaceutical research, and even help enable patients’ own cells to be made into almost perfectly compatible skin grafts and eventually replacement organs. 

Two projects are partnerships with startups: L’Oréal’s US-based global technology incubator has joined forces with Organovo in the US; and German-headquartered BASF with French firm Poietis. Meanwhile, US consumer products giant Procter & Gamble has invited research proposals from Singaporean academics within a five-year S$60 million (£27.4 million) programme with the country’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

Today skin tissue is routinely grown in cell culture, explains Priya Viswanathan from King’s College London, but producing a centimetre-square piece can take up to four weeks. Using the same initial cells, which for lab testing purposes are typically donated by plastic surgery patients, 3D printing can potentially do the same in less than a day. Skin is a multi-layered organ with different cell types, and 3D bioprinting is well suited to depositing cells in that arrangement. ‘You still need to grow the cells, but printing in a multilayer format you wouldn’t need to culture it additionally for that much longer,’ Viswanathan says.Read more

Source: rsc.org