A new method for controlling pigmentation in fabricated human skin has been developed by researchers from A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and the Singapore Centre for 3D Printing (SC3DP) at Nanyang Technological University.
In their paper, published in Biofabrication, the team show how they utilize 3D bioprinting to control the distribution of melanin-producing skin cells (melanocytes) on a biomimetic tissue substrate, to produce human-like skin pigmentation.
While current engineered skin constructs are successfully used in skin repair and grafting, toxicology, and chemical testing, they lack complex features such as skin pigmentation, sweat glands, or hair follicles.
Lead author Wei Long Ng aimed to overcome these challenges in a joint project initiated by SIMTech’s May Win Naing and SC3DP’s Wai Yee Yeong. Ng says, “3D bioprinting is an excellent platform for the precise deposition of biomaterials and living cells to make biomimetic skin, in large volumes with great repeatability. However, non-uniform skin pigmentation is often seen, and this remains a huge callenge to be solved.