The Labskin VCT
Labskin scientists create their own microbial mixes of different complexity that mimic a typical skin microbiome tailored to the clients needs. For most testing this is an effective way to understand the effect of products in both the microbiome and the skin itself. However swabbing human volunteers and harvesting each unique microbiome gives a closer approximation to clinical trials and very substantive proof as to the safety and efficacy of the ingredient/product/formulation being tested.
In the pre covid world, clients order tests for specific ingredients/formulations and indicate the type of skin they want tested – age, ethnicity, gender, part of the body etc. Volunteers are identified and brought into labs. They are made aware of the trial protocols, fill in the required questionnaires and then a technician takes a swab where the volunteer’s microbiome is transferred to lab grown skin for the tests to start. Tests are carried out in the lab on the subjects skin clone with regular sequencing to assess impact. If required and in parallel tests can also be carried out on the human subject with regular swabbing and sequencing to see impact of the tests.
Despite Covid 19 these types of trials – ethical, non animal tested and substantive – need to continue. The safety and efficacy of products being used on the skin – whether they are cosmetics, sanitizers or therapeutics – need to be beyond reproach. However with social distancing, processes have to adapt. We can’t put human trialists at risk of infection by having them travel and then having human contact from technicians taking swabs.
The Labskin VCT allows human volunteers to self swab (under video supervision) in their own homes and post their results to our labs for microbiome replication on blank lab grown skin. We’ve also put all the clinical testing protocols, questionnaires and documentation online. And we adapted our store, share and collaborate data platform to make sure all data collected is encrypted and stored securely to meet GDPR guidelines. This last piece is important because the trialist is in control of his/her data. They can ask for access to it. They can request that it be transferred to them. And they can order it deleted, if required.