Medical & Dental

BASF and CTI Biotech develop functional skin gland models with 3D bioprinting

BASF Care Creations, a department of chemical company BASF, has demonstrated the findings from joint research with CTI Biotech into 3D tissue models of human sebaceous glands.

These results, announced at the NYSCC Cosmetic Congress, demonstrate the successful ex-vivo (outside the human body) production and active ingredient regulation of sebum, a waxy, protective matter secreted by the sebaceous glands (in most skin cells).

3D modeling of sebaceous glands

The research involved the use of 3D human sebaceous gland modeling by CTI Biotech. This regenerative medicine R&D company specialises in studies of skin cosmetics, stem-cells and cancer, having recently installed a CELLINK BIO X 3D printer to develop treatments for the latter.

The company’s 3D human sebaceous gland technology, capable of creating and growing human sebocyte models, is bioprinted alongside custom and artificially layered skin-derived cell models.

Lyon-based CTI Biotech began in-house bioprinting in 2016, which extended its 3D tissue engineering capabilities for skin research.

“Compared to current in vitro methods, the 3D models developed by CTI Biotech allow analysis [that is] more in touch with human physiology and sebaceous gland metabolism,”

“Our understanding of sebaceous gland metabolism provides the basis for developing and testing advanced cosmetic bio-actives for skin care applications, and in particular skincare products for oily skin,” said Dr Sabine Pain, a project leader at BASF.

A hair follicle and sebaceous gland model. Photo via Wikimedia.
A hair follicle and sebaceous gland model. Photo via Wikimedia.

Combining tissue engineering with dermatology in 3D bioprinting

Dr Nico Forraz, Chief Executive Officer at CTI Biotech, believes the research announced at the NYSCC Cosmetic Congress is key to validating a “powerful technology for human skin care research.”

The findings will now be used to look at the role of sebaceous glands in skin disorders. CTI Biotech is developing a 3D bioprinter capable of arranging sebaceous micro-glands into a dermatological model. 

“Because of their experience and expertise in developing solutions for the dermo-cosmetics market, BASF understands the benefits of collaborating with tissue engineering experts,” added Professor Colin McGuckin, Chief Scientific Officer and President of CTI Biotech. “The next evolution of the sebaceous gland model will be based on a 3D bioprinting technology that allows us to fully reproduce micro-glands into a full thickness skin model, in vitro.”

BASF signed a bioprinting deal with French company Poietis last year, which would see joint development of BASF’s “mimeskin” synthetic skin for testing cosmetics.

Prof Colin McGlucklin with a bio-printer at CTI Biotech. Photo via CTI Biotech.
Prof Colin McGluckin with a bioprinter at CTI Biotech. Photo via CTI Biotech.

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Featured image shows a Sebocyte cell model prepared by CTI Biotech. Photo via CTI Biotech.