SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – A team of cosmetic surgeons from Seoul National University Hospital announced Thursday that it has developed a microchip modeled after human skin.
The chip is about 1 centimeter in diameter, and includes the epidermis (outer skin layer) and the derma (inner skin layer). It was developed by growing human cells on top of a silicon material.
According to the team, the microchip overcomes the previous setbacks of artificial skin research, which made it difficult to observe and control the interactions of different skin layers.
The new chip allows for a detailed examination of cellular coupling and the changes in vascular layers, making it a highly viable candidate to be used to replace animal testing in the future, the team said.
Development of new drugs or cosmetics often require animal sacrifice, which has put animal testing in the spotlight over the years. Progress has been made as well in improving animal rights, including the E.U.’s banning of animal testing for cosmetics development in 2013.
Professor Choi Tae-hyon, who led the research, said that “Human on a Chip” is a research area that has become widely popular in medical circles, which is to put all the functions of human organs into a single chip for research purposes.
“For developing cosmetics or new drugs, clinical trials on animals or humans are essential to prove safety,” he said. “Our microchip would help replace the existing methods and resolve ethical debates, while at the same time reducing the time and cost required for research and development.”
The team’s full research findings were published in Scientific Reports.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)