Students of Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Shikha Chawla, Aarushi Sharma won the award for research work of 3D bioprinted skin scar model for drug and cosmetic testing. They carried their project work under guidance of Dr. Sourabh Ghosh.
Current anti-scar cosmetic products or medicines are not effective enough due to poor understanding of scar pathogenesis. Results of pre-clinical trials on animals do not always extrapolated to humans . Moreover, pharmaceutical companies are facing a major jolt due to European Union ban on animal testing of finished cosmetic products/ingredients (European Union Council Directive 76/768/EEC).
International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation is strongly encouraging development of alternatives for drug testing on animals due to ethical concern, to reduce or eliminate the use of animal models. Hence, there is an urgent need for a human cell-based in vitro engineered tissue models to screen drugs/cosmetics for the prevention of scar. Since past 50 years, many international researchers/industries tried to develop tissue engineered skin for transplantation. But tissue engineered skin received limited success in human clinical trials. Uniqueness of our approach is to develop a relatively simpler, human cellbased in vitro tissue engineered skin model that could 1) be used for rapid screening of anti-scar drugs/cosmetics and 2) help to extend our understanding of the cellular signaling pathways. Our model could recapitulate several hallmarks of scar tissue: (1) fibroblasts to myofibroblasts transition and expression of α -SMA; 2) contraction; 3) excessive collagen and reduced elastin secretion; 4) fibrotic ECM protein expression (SPARC and Tenascin); 5) low MMP secretion and 6) involvement of TGF-β/SMAD and Wnt/β-catenin pathways. To the best of our knowledge, no such in vitro models have been reported, hence it is getting major attention of national/international level news media and pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science and Technology, awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Appreciation to Shikha Chawla, Aarushi Sharma, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi at the GYTI 2018 Awards function held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on March 19, 2018.