Imprimir Republish

Cosmetics testing

A factory for artificial skin

Automated cell culture system manufactures skin model for cosmetics testing in 14 days

FRAUNHOFER IGBAutomated cell culture system manufactures skin model for cosmetics testing in 14 daysFRAUNHOFER IGB

The production of artificial skin for use in cosmetics testing is nearing industrial scale. Fraunhofer IGB, an institute based in Stuttgart (Germany) dedicated to applied science, has created an automated system that produces 12,000 fragments of skin from one sample of human tissue. The cell cultivation process—based on a model that employs unpatented techniques, free of restrictions against commercial use—takes 14 days. “With the ban on animal testing in various parts of the world, the demand for this type of material will greatly increase,” says Florian Groeber of the institute’s cell and tissue engineering department, one of the researchers involved in the initiative. The first prototype of this “tissue factory,” on which development began in 2007, was shown to the public in 2011. Now the system is ready to be sold to companies that often need to run tests to make sure that their beauty products do not cause allergies or irritate human skin. Each skin sample produced costs about €50. Fraunhofer IGB has not revealed the sale price of an automated system to produce artificial skin. “We are open to talking with interested companies and negotiating the amount according to the size of the order,” says Groeber. The German researchers believe that, in the near future, the system might also be capable of being modified to produce other types of human tissues and skin good enough to be used in grafts.