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Feature

EPiTRI, New Skin Equivalent for Cosmetics

ITRI’s EPiTRI has the characteristics of Chinese skin tissue, making it the first Chinese bionic skin equivalent.

ITRI’s EPiTRI has the characteristics of Chinese skin tissue, making it the first Chinese bionic skin equivalent.

The European Union’s bans on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients, effective July 2013, have made the cosmetic industry keen to explore alternative methods for safety testing. In response to this trend, ITRI developed its very own bionic epidermal tissue, EPiTRI, which can be applied in cosmetics for in vitro safety assessments such as epidermis corrosion and irritation tests. This technology may assist cosmetic manufacturers in new material and formula development in line with international regulations, easing their entry to the global market.

EPiTRI, derived from Chinese skin cells, has a layered structure similar to human epidermal tissue composed of the stratum corneum, granulosum, stratum spinousum, and basal layer. Furthermore, its lipid profiling and barrier functions are identical to those of normal human skin. Therefore, EPiTRI can provide an excellent model for corrosion assessments and evaluations of skin irritation in accordance with testing guidelines OECD431 and OECD439. ITRI also developed Melano-EPiTRI, a human skin equivalent containing melanocytes. Melano-EPiTRI can be used to assist in the development of new active ingredients for whitening and tanning products.

EPiTRI has a human epidermal structure composed of the cornified layer, granular layer, spinous layer, and basal layer.

EPiTRI has a human epidermal structure composed of the cornified layer, granular layer, spinous layer, and basal layer.

Currently, when a new domestic cosmetic product aims to enter the global market, the company needs to use imported bionic skin for safety testing for its INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) application. ITRI helps tackle this issue by driving EPiTRI’s pilot production, achieving a capacity of 300 pieces per batch with a yield rate larger than 90%.

EPiTRI is the first skin equivalent tissue developed in Taiwan aiming for international validation and commercialization. This technology will help manufacturers develop products that comply with cosmetic regulations, which may increase the industry’s global competitiveness. Meanwhile, it can facilitate the development of tissue engineering products and advanced medicine testing kits.

In addition to overcoming the new regulations in cosmetics, EPiTRI is also valuable in other sectors that have been phasing out animal testing such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and environmental toxicology. In the future EPiTRI can further extend its application to medical care for burn injuries.