Home Career Artificial human skin paves way to new skin cancer therapy – ScienceDaily

Artificial human skin paves way to new skin cancer therapy – ScienceDaily


Using artificial human skin, a research team from the University of Copenhagen was able to block invasive growth in a skin cancer model.

The study was published in Scientific signaling and looks at what actually happens when a cell turns into a cancer cell.

“We are studying one of the cell signaling pathways, the so-called TGF-beta pathway. This pathway plays an important role in the communication between the cell and its environment and controls, for example, cell growth and division. If these mechanisms are damaged, the cell can turn into a cancerous cell and invade the surrounding tissues,” explains professor and group leader Hans Vandal from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Copenhagen.

Under normal circumstances, your skin cells won’t just start invading the subcutaneous layer and causing damage. Instead, they will produce a new layer of skin. But when cancer cells appear, the cells stop respecting the boundaries between the layers of the skin and begin to invade each other. This is called invasive growth.

Hans Vandal and colleagues studied the TGF-beta pathway and applied methods to block invasive growth and thereby inhibit the invasive growth of skin cancer.

“We already have different drugs that can block these signaling pathways and that can be used in tests. We used some of them in this study,” explains associate professor and study co-author Sally Dobelstein of the School of Dentistry.

Hans Vandal and Sally Dobelstein worked together with Dr. Zilu Ye and Professor Jesper W. Olsen from the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Center for Protein Research in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

“Some of these drugs have already been tested in humans, and some are in the process of being tested for other types of cancer. They can also be tested for skin cancer specifically,” she says.

Artificial skin is the closest thing to real human skin

The artificial skin the researchers are using in the new study is made up of artificial, genetically manipulated human skin cells. Skin cells are produced on the subcutaneous tissue from collagen. This causes the cells to grow in layers like real human skin.

Unlike mouse models, the skin model, which is another word for artificial skin, allows researchers to relatively quickly introduce artificial genetic changes that provide insight into the systems that support skin development and renewal.

In this way, they are also able to reproduce and monitor the development of other skin diseases, not just skin cancer.

“By using artificial human skin, we have overcome the potentially problematic hurdle of whether test results in mouse models can be transferred to human tissue. We have previously used mouse models in most studies of this nature. Instead, we can conclude that these substances are probably not harmful and can work in practice, because artificial skin means we are closer to human reality,” says Hans Vandal.

The artificial skin used by the researchers resembles the skin on which cosmetics are tested in the EU, which banned animal testing in 2004. However, artificial skin does not allow researchers to test the effect of drugs on the whole body, notes Hans Vandal. . Skin models like the one used here have been used by cosmetic companies since the mid-1980s.

“We can study the effect by focusing on a single organ — the skin — and then we learn about how the molecules work, while we try to determine whether they damage the skin structure and healthy skin cells,” he said. says.

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