India's first bioprinted human skin model

Researchers in IIT Delhi have developed, for the first time in India, a 3D bioprinted human skin model, with some structural features similar to that of human skin. The skin model was developed by collaborating with scientists from the ITC Life Sciences and Technology Centre in Bangalore. The skin constructs could potentially be used to test the efficacy of bioactive molecules, drugs and cosmetic products, and potentially can reduce or replace the use of animals.

Since the past two decades, scientists are trying to develop human skin equivalent by tissue engineering. But these engineered constructs failed to recapitulate the complex anatomical features of human skin, such as undulated morphology at the interface of dermis and epidermis. In 2013, theEuropean Union enforced a ban on testing the cosmetic products on animals. Thereafter the cosmetic manufacturing companies started to look for in vitro human skin based models to test their bioactive molecules. In an attempt to find a more physiological relevant skin model, Prof Sourabh Ghosh and his colleagues, prepared a bioink by mixing a silk protein with gelatin. They then blended specific skin cells with the bioink, and used bioprinting strategy to prepare the skin equivalent construct. By Next Generation Sequencing, the researchers identified the activity of specific genes that play important roles in wound healing and skin remodeling processes in the human skin.

"Now we are trying to develop physiologically relevant skin disease models, such as scar tissue or psoriasis, for in vitro drug screening," says lead researcher Prof. Sourabh Ghosh from IITD.