A team of scientists in Japan has successfully created an artificial skin that can sweat and grow hair, using stem cells from mice gums. In the future, the development could be used to create realistic skin samples for cosmetic companies to test their products on.
Bioengineers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB), alongside other organizations, produced the complex skin tissue and implanted it into living mice with supressed immune systems. Following this, the tissue then created proper connections with muscles and nerve fibres.
Creating an embryoid body (EB) the new artificial skin has three layers, replicating real skin. And while the success of the development will take 5 to 10 years to translate to humans, researchers hope that the experiment will allow functioning skin to be grown from the cells of burn victims or those with skin diseases, and transplanted back on to them.
The move could herald a significant change for the cosmetics world and signal an end to animal testing altogether with product testing taking on a more human lab-grown form.