Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Superior Skin
27 April 2016

Superior Skin

Scientists are able to grow the outer layer of skin – the epidermis – from stem cells in culture, but such lab-grown skin isn’t fully functional. A new improved approach devised by scientists in Japan, however, takes lab-grown skin to another level, or perhaps another layer. Using special culturing conditions, the researchers have succeeded in generating all three layers of skin – epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous adipose tissue – from mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Importantly, this more complete skin can support the growth and development of hair follicles and sebaceous glands, which single-layer epidermis cannot. The image shows the stem cell-derived skin (green), complete with hair, transplanted and integrated into the skin of a mouse. If the technique can be recapitulated with human stem cells, it could ultimately lead to regenerative therapies for patients with severe burns or scars as well as possible treatments for baldness.

Written by Ruth Williams

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