Next generation tissue models as a replacement for animal experiments
Despite advances in the development of in-vitro-tissue-models, the number of endpoints in toxicity-testing which can be addressed with these models is limited. This is due to a lack of key cellular components and a restricted live time of the models (Groeber et al., 2011). In addition, the manual production process of current tissue-models results in significant inter- and intra-lot deviations. One reason for these limitation is that suitable technologies for the culture and production of tissue-models are missing. To overcome these pitfalls, the Fraunhofer IGB is achieving advanced culture systems and biomaterials which allow long term culture of complex tissue-equivalents. Using these technologies, we have developed the first full thickness skin-model with a perfused vascular network (Groeber et al., 2012). Furthermore, within an interdisciplinary consortium of biologist and engineers, we have established a fully automated production facility to generate epidermal models based on an open source reconstructed epidermis (OS-REp) (Lemper et al., 2013; Poumay et al., 2004)). During the product manufacture, all media changes and manipulations are automatically preformed which allows a maximum output of 8000 OS-REp per month (http://www.tissue-factory.com). In our work we could create new technologies for the generation and production of tissue-models which is a vital requirement to increase the success of in-vitro-test-methods.