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Skin Disease Assays


Our human fresh skin disease assays provide the most clinically relevant in vitro assessments of new therapies of any CRO. The pro or anti-inflammatory properties of your test compound can be tested ex vivo using human intact fresh functional skin. Skin tissues are received either as biopsies obtained from patients with psoriasis or atopic dermatitis or for our higher throughput models, using human fresh skin induced to a disease-relevant inflammatory phenotype, such as our Th17 phenotypic model.

Up to 20 test conditions can be assessed using skin from a single donor allowing for comparatively high throughput and quick turnaround, and your test article can be added to the culture media or applied topically to allow assessment of different formulations. Any resultant changes in inflammatory mediators can be measured via multiplex ELISA/Luminex or via changes in histology or gene expression, using approaches such as RT-PCR, RNA-Seq, or even single-cell RNA sequencing.

The set up for a typical full-thickbness human skin tissue explant experiment-1

Diagram showing a typical setup for our skin disease explant assays 

Biopsies from patients with psoriasis or atopic dermatitis

Our clinically relevant skin model uses tissues from living patients with skin diseases. The patients are recruited into clinical sites where they donate multiple biopsies for the research projects. Some of the key features of these valuable models include:

  • Diseased tissues from the target patient population, reflecting disease biology
  • Psoriasis and atopic dermatitis biopsies available (3 biopsies per donor)
  • Donor information can be used to complement pharmacological data
  • Scoring of disease severity
  • Ideal for preclinical patient stratification


A full-thickness punch biopsy from a patient with skin disease.

Psoriasis model
This model uses skin biopsies from psoriasis donors to assess the anti-inflammatory effects of your test articles.

Atopic dermatitis model
This model uses skin biopsies from donors with atopic dermatitis to assess the anti-inflammatory effects of your test articles.

Phenotypic skin disease models 

For these models, a disease-like phenotype is simulated in healthy human skin biopsies sourced from cosmetic surgery procedures. Proprietary cocktails are used to stimulate disease pathways in these tissue samples, resulting in the upregulation of disease-relevant inflammatory mediators, such as Th17/IL-17 or IL-23 pathways. Once the disease phenotype has been achieved, your test compounds are added followed by an assessment of their anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Up to 30 punch biopsies can be obtained per tissue donor
  • Several compounds can be screened simultaneously
  • Biopsies can be cultured for up to 7 days 
  • A wide range of skin diseases can be modeled including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and acne


Fresh skin tissue is used to create healthy punch biopsies for our phenotypic disease models.

Induced psoriasis model (Th17)
An assay using living skin that has been modified to produce a psoriasis-like phenotype via Th17 pathway activation including IL-17 induction.

Induced acne model (LPS)
This model uses skin that has been modified to produce an acne-like phenotype via stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS).

Induced atopic dermatitis model
An assay using living skin that has been modified to produce an atopic dermatitis-like phenotype via Th2 pathway activation including IL-5, IL-13 and IL-22 induction.

Inflamed skin model (PHA)
This model uses skin that has been modified to produce a Th2-like phenotype via stimulation with phytohemagglutinin (PHA).

3D human skin models

Our Alvetex Scaffold can be used to create 3D, multi-layer full-thickness skin models. Unlike other in vitro skin models, this 3D model possesses a fully developed stratum corneum. This model has been used to study dermal invasion by melanoma cells, giving a good model to study treatments for melanoma. We can run this assay as a service, or you can set it up in your own lab to model skin function and disease. The figure below shows histological analysis of skin equivalents developed using Alvetex compared to our human skin biopsies.

  • Ideal for high-throughput projects
  • Can be set up in your own laboratory or outsourced
  • A budget-friendly alternative to testing in human fresh skin
  • Can be used to model early melanoma invasion

Alvetex skin model vs human skin

Left: Histochemical analysis of our 3D human skin model. Right: Real human skin. 

3D Skin Cancer Model

Alvetex Scaffold 3D tissue culture supports have been used for a number of cancer models. Cancer invasion assays measure the effect of potential drugs on the migration of cancer cells into the matrix. Cytotoxicity assays measure the potential anticancer agents to halt or reverse the growth of cancer cells. REPROCELL can perform these assays as a service, as well.

B Melnocytes s100-1

Histochemical analysis revealing migration of melanocytes (indicated by arrow) in our 3D skin model.

3D Autologous Skin Model for toxicity testing

Alcyomics® has developed a full-thickness autologous skin equivalent model from healthy primary human tissue which is representative of normal human skin.

  • Screening platform for testing adverse immunological reactions to large proteins such as monoclonal antibodies, biosimilars, and bio-betters
  • Identify toxicological endpoints such as cytotoxicity (dose-response), cell viability, apoptosis, necrosis, and the effects of compounds or drugs on cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors
  • Cost-effective commercialization of products or drugs to the cosmetic, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries


Microscopy image of autologous skin model created using Alvetex.

Making an inquiry

Have a question about our skin disease assays? Fill in the form below to contact one of our human tissue experts.