The future: 3d print human skin

“L’Oreal has joined forces with Organavo, a San-Francisco based start-up and proposed to 3d print human skin, which would significantly speed up the process.”

The cosmetics industry is a billion dollar industry that grows with each new product that is churned out in the lab and sent to the shelves. However, recently companies have started to push the boundaries of bio engineering in an innovative idea that involves bringing human skin to market: 3d print human skin.

L’Oreal joined forces with Organavo

Skincare and beauty giants like L’Oreal already manufacture epidermis in order to test their products and modify them according to the reaction of various skin types. L’Oreal has joined forces with Organavo, a San-Francisco based start-up and proposed to 3d print human skin, which would significantly speed up the process. L’Oreal state that if they could copy the exact molecular composition, this would provide more accurate results across different skin phenotypes, with regard to their products. This could also lead the way in terms of cutting-edge medicine in burn care with regard to skin grafts. Equally, it could amount to dark territory for the fashion and beauty world.

3d print human skin ethical or not?

The scope for ethical misuse of genetic information is massive. When it comes to the issue of ownership of human tissue samples, the lines are blurred. Such matters raise questions with regard to ownership of profit if sold and the safety of copying an individual’s skin composition. It seems that bio engineering technologies are advancing at the speed of light and legislation is struggling to keep up. Loopholes in law that governs patient and intellectual property in actual fact state that bio engineering companies can attain samples from surgical patients without their consent- essentially stealing their skin!

Gain ownership of your DNA

Answers to the biggest concerns are yet to be clarified. As it stands, it seems possible that an individual’s genetic material can be used for testing, copied and sold worldwide. Central Saint Martin’s student, Tina Gorjanc’s Masters project focuses on these ethical concerns in an industry that is a hybrid of medical and beauty. Named, Pure Human her project emphasizes the ease at which companies can gain ownership of an individual’s DNA. One can only hope it will reveal the fragility in security of human-tissue engineering before it’s too late.

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