Skin is a living and protective organ
Skin is a living and protective organ
  • By The K Beauty Science
  • Accepted 2023.02.07 14:00
  • Comments 0
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Henry Maso Award - Professor Colin McGuckin and Dr Nico Forraz, founders of CTIBIOTECH.

Q.  You won the Henry Maso Award. Congratulations! How’s your feel?

We were extremely at CTIBIOTECH proud to win the Henry Maso Award, since this is the most prestigious award in Cosmetics science and research globally from the IFSCC. For an innovation company to be recognized in this way was extremely important. It highlights the advances in our immune skin models which are the most advanced in the world.

Q.  Please introduce your company, ‘CTIBiotech’.

We set up CTIBIOTECH together in 2009 to advance human research and to try to translate laboratory research to the benefit of humans as fast as possible. CTIBIOTECH advances cosmetics research by making new advanced skin models to help develop the cosmetics of tomorrow. We use real human skin and skin bioprinted in the laboratory to show that cosmetics ingredients and final products are working. Our innovations are now used globally by the world’s leading cosmetics companies. We can print skin of every phototype color, age and geographical location and we do it ethically. Skin of everyone, for everyone!

Q.  What is the 3D Bioprinting technology?

3D Bioprinting is an additive manufacturing that allows us to take a tiny piece of donated human skin, pull it apart, grow up the cells in large quantities and then print new pieces of skin for cosmetics testing. In an afternoon we can print hundreds of pieces of skin. Some can be basic, for safety testing, or at CTIBIOTECH we can add melanocytes, immune cells, nervous tissues, and other cell types to make complex skin to really understand which part of the skin is responding to cosmetics ingredients.

You said that many such strategies were previously aimed at strengthening the epidermal barrier to attack, but with limited success in tackling conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Why?

Many old-style cosmetics were just targeting hydration to give a short-term look to the skin. However, that strategy was not working so well in people who have sensitive skin. But increasingly cosmetics companies are using the “chain-reaction” of communication between the epidermis and the dermis to send messages to deeper parts of the skin to be improved. This is extremely important because we can use products which help human skin to recover from the early ‘trigger’ stages of dermatitis and help people never reach a deeper problem. At CTIBIOTECH we help cosmetics companies really target their cosmetics and find solutions for different types of skin.

Q.  Please explain your 3D bioprinted skin model, briefly.

(including differences and characteristics compared to conventional models.)

Conventional skin models either use pieces of donated skin (hard to find and limited in numbers) or 3D manually made skin models (often limited to the epidermis). The manually made models also often use cells from different donors, which is very bad because it ignores individual cell type differences even in the epidermis. At CTIBIOTECH we specialize in making “one-donor models”, so we can 3D Bioprint skin of one person and model that person. This allows us to make skin typical in Asia, or Europe, or Africa, or anywhere. “Skin of everyone, for everyone” is not just a thing to say – it is scientifically important to make sure safe products are going on the skin.

Q.  When you developed 3D bioprinted skin model, how did you adjust the skin environment?

Everyone has their own immunology, and it is not limited to the immune system cells of your body. Every cell in the body has characteristics. This is why some cosmetics are fine for some people and other people do not react so well to them. At CTIBIOTECH we adjust the environment to block out animal products where necessary and make a ‘humanized’ skin system which is more realistic.

Q.  No matter how hard you try to adjust, there may be other parts that you haven’t met. How are you going to overcome this limitation?

Science is amazing isn’t it ! The fun of our work at CTIBIOTECH is to keep innovating and when cosmetics companies come to us with a problem, we love to find the solution. The big issue is always to make something real and not try to avoid the big questions.

Q.  Is there a reason why you developed the model focusing on the interaction between skin and immunity?

Yes, because in the skin models that people used historically, there were sometimes small rejections and that was absolutely because the immune system was not balanced. All the cells of the human body have an ability to say when they are not happy. We have the innate and active immune systems, and the epidermis of the body is one of the most important parts of the alert and warning system. We take that into account in our work at CTIBIOTECH because skin is not just how it looks, it is a live protection system.

Q.  What is the key point that you think is the most important in the skin-immunity interaction?

One of the key points is that the epidermal cells – the keratinocytes – to be happy, must be connected together. When they are separated, they go into a sort of ‘wound-healing’ crisis. If small it can be overcome, but if larger then it can lead to dermatitis or other skin problems. The interaction of the microbiome – which is normal in the skin – is also very important, so at CTIBIOTECH we can also make skin models which have natural bacteria.

Q.  Recently, there is a trend to move away from animal experiments or models using animals. I wonder what you think about the trend and what kind of efforts you are doing.

It is extremely important from an ethical standpoint, but it is also critical from a scientific standpoint to reduce animal testing. Our human skin has some similarities to animals, but also major differences. Scientifically our skin has developed a different way, with less hair (usually) and the exposure level of human skin is more pronounced than most animals. Therefore, why would we think that products that work on animals would be suitable for human skin? At CTIBIOTECH we take pride in creating humanized models of skin.

Q.  Are there any cosmetic ingredients that were actually developed through screening using this model?

Yes! We are extremely proud that there are some products in Asia, Europe and America where great cosmetics have been developed using our technologies. At several IFSCC congresses you can see the different cosmetics companies we work with.

Q.  Is there no difficulty in cost?

Cost is always an issue in science, but at CTIBIOTECH we believe in reasonable science. If it cannot be translated to humans, we don’t believe there is much point to doing it.

Q.  Do you have any plans for commercialization? Or is it already done? If so, where can we buy it?

Several of our products are available to buy, and the latest innovations are also available for cooperation projects. Our scientists at CTIBIOTECH love to work directly with cosmetics companies. This was demonstrated at the IFSCC global congress in London, where not only did we have the Henry Maso Award, but we also have 7 presentations with or cosmetics partners, including LVMH, Yves Rocher, Clariant (2), Gattefosse, Mibelle and SEPPIC, which was the largest number of any innovation company there.

Q.  I’m curious about your future plans for skin model development.

Our long-term plans at CTIBIOTECH are to create skin models which are connected to computers – in fact, we already started………. To give ‘real-time’ readings of the effect of cosmetics on skin! It is so exciting, but we feel that this gives the crossover to wearable technologies telling your smartphone how the cosmetics are reacting in real time – the future is so much fun!

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