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Scientists create lab-grown skin that sweats and sprouts hair

Scientists in Japan have created artificial skin with the help of stem cell from mouse’s gums. This lab-grown skin with multiple layers can sprout hair and has sweat glands, which could be used for functional skin transplants for patients with skin diseases and severe burns.

Bioengineers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) and other organizations, implanted the artificial skin into a mouse with suppressed immune system; the tissues integrated well and sprouted hairs. This skin would be superior to a similar type of skin substitute available currently, without the biological functions and components. The new skin could also be used by cosmetic companies to test their products, which could end animal testing.

“We are coming ever closer to the dream of being able to recreate actual organs in the lab for transplantation,” said Takashi Tsuji, study leader.

The artificial skin which is currently available has only two layers of tissue without any hair follicles or glands, but the new lab-grown skin has glands that secrete sebum, and has three layers just like the human skin. The tissue which was transplanted into the skin of mice, developed as intergumentary tissue– the tissue which is responsible for hair growth and fat excretion.

Tsuji added that the dream of re-growing personalized organs were beginning to materialize. Professor John McGrath at King’s College London said that many other scientists would recreate the findings for several purposes, such as recreating skin diseases and applying treatments. Tsuji and his team are now trying to create other organs associated with skin tissue , such as salivary glands and teeth. The study has been published in the journal Science Advances.

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