Scientists from the UK and USA have successfully developed an epidermis that could mean the end of animal testing in pharmaceutical and cosmetics fields.

The teams, located at King’s College London and the San Francisco Veteran Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC) have developed the first fully functioning lab-grown epidermis, which has a likeness to real skin.

Grown from human pluripotent stem cells, the alternative is said to be a cost-effective model that could be used to test a range of drugs as well as skin care, colour cosmetics and other personal care products.

Dusko Ilic, lead researcher on the project, said: “This is a new and suitable model that can be used for testing new drugs and cosmetics and can replace animal models.

“It’s cheap, it’s easy to scale up and it is reproducible.”

Theodora Mauro, leader of the SFVAMC team, said: “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 stimulate its repair and recovery.”

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