L’Oreal Teaming with Bio-engineering Firm – Organovo 3D Print Human Skin
L’Oreal, the French Cosmetic giant is teaming with a bio-engineering firm to start-up Organovo to 3D Printing Skin of human and the multinational company intends to use the synthetic skin for testing make-up and skincare, meaning the printed skin would be utilised in product tests. Organovo had made headlines, claiming that it has the potential that it can 3D print a human liver though it seems to be the first tie-up with the cosmetic company.
Experts indicate that science could be legitimate though quizzed on why a beauty firm would desire to start 3D Printing Skin. The French company presently tends to grow skin samples from tissues which have been donated by plastic surgery patients producing over 100,000, 0.5 sq. cm skin sample each year, growing nine varieties for all ages and ethnicities.
It has given no timeframe for when the printed sample would be made available stating that it was in its `early state research’. Adam Friedmann, a consultant dermatologist at the Harley Street dermatology clinic informed BBC that he thinks the science behind it, using 3D Printing Skin methods with human cells sounds plausible and that he can understand why a company would do it for severe burns or trauma but has no idea what the cosmetic industry would do with it.
The company has informed that the technology will leverage Organovo’s proprietary NovoGen Bioprinting Platform and L’Oreal’s expertise in skin engineering in developing 3D Printing Skin tissue for product evaluation and other areas of advanced research.
Global vice president of L’Oreal’s Technology Incubator, Guive Balooch states that `the partnership will not only bring about new advances in vitro methods for evaluating product safety and performance, but the potential for where this new field of technology and research can take us is boundless’. Experts have commented that while science could be possible, it is uncertain why a beauty firm would desire to print its own skin.
The process of printing targets in automating the creation of living human tissues that copies the form as well as function of those that are found in the body like the skin. For several years, experts have been at work on printing realistic skin that is mostly difficult in making it to look realistic.
It is not essential for skin to be printed in one tone since it does not replicate the way skin changes colour slightly in different lights, real life or is patterned with veins, freckles and wrinkles. The 3D printed tissue that has been developed by Organovo comprises of tiny building blocks which make up living human cells and have features of native tissue like cellular density together with the presence of multiple cell forms.
It is not clear how the company would be working with the cosmetic firm though its present process of printing tissue seems to be a difficult process. Allan Faulkner-Jones, a bioengineering research scientist at Heriot Watt University is of the opinion that printing skin could be a different proposition.
He informed BBC that the skin is quite easy to print since it is a layered structure and the advantages for the cosmetics industry would be that it does not have to test products on animals and will get a better response from human skin. 3D Printing Skin would have more value in medical scenario and it would be a great thing to have stores of spare skins for burn victims’.