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Skin Factorys Baby Donors

A secret laboratory growing new human skin from baby foreskins has been hailed a medical breakthrough by scientists at Europe's biggest research organisation.

The process - dubbed the Skin Factory at the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, Germany - takes cells from foreskins donated to the project and grows swatches of skin for use in testing cosmetics and other consumer products.

Its creators claim that one day their process could replace all animal testing, explained project spokesman Andreas Traube.

Scientists extract a single layer of cells from each foreskin and then grow on layers of collagen and connective tissue in the Skin Factory, a sealed growing environment just seven metres, by thee metres, and three metres high and kept at a constant temperature of 37 degrees centigrade.

Then project uses foreskins taken from boys up to just four years old, said Traube.

"The older the skin is, the worse it performs," he explained.

The process can produce 10 million cells from a single foreskin and make skin up to five millimetres thick in just six week.

Now European authorities are examining the Skin Factory to see if can be used commercially.

"Its logical that wed want to take the operation to a bigger scale," said project spokesman Traube.

"In the future there are all sort of possible applications for the Skin Factory like cancer research, pigmentation diseases, and allergic reactions," he added.

German Herald

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