Post — 5 Min Read

A Re-Imagined Look at Skin Model Testing – Q&A with Labskin

An interview with David Caballero-Lima, R&D Manager, Labskin.

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Labskin has been around for twelve years – can you tell us about the history of the company as well as your field of expertise?

The Labskin model was created by a group of microbiologists at the University of Leeds to study the skin human microbiota and the microbial/host interaction in a controlled environment. Labskin has unique features, including its improved barrier function, dry surface and the expression of antimicrobial peptides which allow the colonization of the model with skin microbiome. We use these defining characteristics to develop methods for testing ingredients and formulations on the microbial community on Labskin.

We colonise Labskin with different microbial consortia containing mixes of skin bacteria and fungi. We can also isolate the whole microbiome from volunteers and transplant this microbiome onto Labskin. We can even challenge those consortia or microbiomes with pathogens. Then, combining a range of techniques such as colony counting, RT-qPCR, immunohistochemistry, ELISA or sequencing; we are able to look at the effect of those products on both the host and the microbiota at the same time.

We can’t avoid the obligatory question about Covid-19 and testing sanitizers… you collaborate with various universities and academics…any exciting initiatives you can share with us?

We regularly carry out tests on skin sanitisers, soaps and cleansers using our commensal skin consortia and specific pathogens. In the lab, our standard methods for testing sanitisers against the virus implement the most robust safety measures. We are now working with two leading universities with Containment Level 3 biosafety levels for specific laboratory work on SARS–CoV2.

Most data on the efficacy of hand sanitisers against the Covid-19 virus do not correlate to a real-life situation. We use our Labskin model to get data in an environment that closely resembles real human skin. Additionally, we isolate microbiome from volunteers and have developed methods to isolate those microbiomes without contact with the subject. In effect, we run remote clinical trials that use an internet portal to recruit and send swabs to the volunteers and recover the whole microbiomes from those volunteers to safely transplant them onto our skin models in our facilities.

View the complete interview here.