L’Oreal to Begin 3-D Printing Human Skin – Is this the End of Animal Testing?

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureBeauty giant L’Oreal USA has announced a partnership with 3-D bioprinting company Organovo to develop 3-D printed skin tissue for product testing and other areas of advanced research.

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L’Oreal is no stranger to the field of skin engineering. The company has spent decades exploring skin culture technologies that could take them away from forms of animal testing.

L’Oreal has roughly 60 scientists working on site, at a lab in Lyon, France, growing more than 100,000 skin samples annually. According to Bloomberg – In a year, their efforts produce a cowhide worth of human skin samples. The process yields nine different types of human skin samples, representing different ages and ethnicities, that can be used to test various products.

For this partnership, L’Oreal will provide skin expertise and all the initial funding, while Organovo, which is already working with such companies as Merck to print liver and kidney tissues, will provide the technology – with the hopes of automating the process.

What is the end game?

  • L’Oreal wins exclusive rights to the 3D printed skin developed with Organovo for uses related to non-prescription skin care products.
  • Organovo will retain rights to the tissue models for efficacy testing of prescription drugs, toxicity tests, and the development and testing of therapeutic or surgically transplanted tissues.

The end of animal testing?

The beauty industry has famously been at war with animal rights activists protesting the use of animals – with watchdogs like PETA creating lists of companies that are either ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘still testing’ on animals.

In 2013, the European Union banned the import and sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals. L’Oreal, which is based in France, was one of the first beauty companies to respond. L’Oreal said it would respect the ban and “no longer sell in Europe any finished product with an ingredient that was tested on animals.”

L’Oreal’s current stance on animal testing as posted on their website: The Group no longer tests on animal, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others.

3-D printed skin tissue will not only protect animals from unnecessary product testing, it will also greatly impact the fields of medicine and cosmetic surgery.

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What does L’Oreal have to say about the new partnership?

Guive Balooch -VP of L’Oreal’s global Technology Incubator- said the potential for this new field of technology is ‘boundless.’

Balooch told The Washington Post, “Some of the biggest potential advantages are the speed of production as well as the level of precision that 3-D printing can achieve… L’Oreal’s focus right now is not to increase the quantity of skin we produce but instead to continue to build on the accuracy and consistent replication of the skin engineering process.”

Organovo Holdings, Inc & Bioprinting

Organovo is one of the first companies to offer commercially available 3D-printed human organs. This deal with L’Oreal is their first foray into cosmetics.

Last year they launched their first product, the exVive3D human liver, for use in toxicology and other preclinical drug testing. They struck a deal with Merck & Co. last month to use this liver system for testing as a supplement to in vitro and animal testing.

Click below to watch Organovo’s video explaining the bioprinting process

L’Oreal to Begin 3-D Printing Human Skin – Is this the End of Animal Testing?

New Species of See-Through Frog May Give Kermit a Run for His Money!

KS Nature

You thought Kermit the Frog was the cutest? Look at this little guy’s eye-popping lime-green skin, bulging white eyes, and perfectly shaped black pupils. Kermit may be rich, and he clearly he has better luck with assertive pigs, but this newly discovered glass frog has put the internet into a tizzy with its cuteness.

Brian Kubicki, founder of the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center, discovered the frog in Costa Rica. He decided to name the tiny amphibian after his mother.

The Diane’s Bare-hearted glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium dianae) has a translucent belly and a very distinctive call. It lets out a high pitched whistle like that of an insect, which may help it find a mate.

Frog, please!

Diane’s Bare-hearted glass frog rocks a see-through underbelly, leaving its organs completely visible! The reason for this lack of pigmentation remains a mystery to scientists.

Somehow this Kermit look-a-like managed for fly under the radar and evade researchers – which could be due to its whistle.

“The advertisement call that the males of this species produce are very unique, no other known species of frog has a similar call, and this was indeed one of the traits that we used for the justification of it being a completely new species,” and it “could have played a role in its going undetected prior,” said Kubicki.

This is the first glass frog discovered in Costa Rica since 1973.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN KUBICKI, COSTA RICAN AMPHIBIAN RESEARCH CENTER
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN KUBICKI, COSTA RICAN AMPHIBIAN RESEARCH CENTER

Glass Frogs – According to National Geographic, ‘Glass frogs, found in Central and South America rain forests, live high in tree canopies near streams and creeks, descending when it’s time to breed. The glass frog’s name originates from its translucent, organ-revealing bellies. Their green coloration, on the other hand, helps the nocturnal frogs stay camouflaged on the undersides of leaves during the day.’

The Diane’s Bare-hearted glass frog is discussed in the February 19 journal Zootaxa.

New Species of See-Through Frog May Give Kermit a Run for His Money!

It’s Hard For Little Girls to Find Spaceships, Trains, and Dinos at the Clothing Store – Don’t Worry, Moms Got This!

KS_LOGOs2_PopCultureTwo Washington moms started a science-themed clothing line for girls after they realized they couldn’t find clothes featuring dinosaurs, trains, or rocket-ships in the girls department – I guess that is just little boy territory!

BuddingSTEM, created by Jennifer Muhm and Malorie Catchpole, offers a complete line of girls’ clothes celebrating science, space, dinosaurs, and more; perfect for girls ages 18 months to eight years old.

“STEM” stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

BuddingSTEM

As a young woman obsessed with science, this story really warms my heart. Growing up, I had a few gender neutral hand-me-downs with basic math symbols on them, but nothing as cool as this!

Jennifer Muhm, 37, told ABC News, “We’re not anti-princess. We’re not anti-pink. We’re not anti-girly. We just think there needs to be more than just that offered for our girls.”

Muhm first realized this was a serious issue when her 5 year old daughter wanted to be an astronaut for Halloween in 2013 and they could only find boys modeling the space-themed costume in the catalogue.

She explained to her daughter that she could be anything she wanted to be, but she couldn’t stop thinking about how unfair the situation was. What were little girls supposed to wear that wanted to explore the universe and dig for dinosaurs?

By April 2014, Muhm and Catchpole filed their business registration for buddingSTEM.

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Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, buddingSTEM has raised more than $56,000!

The buddingSTEM clothing line will be available on their website starting in July.

It’s Hard For Little Girls to Find Spaceships, Trains, and Dinos at the Clothing Store – Don’t Worry, Moms Got This!