Solutions In… the Skin-Biome
Harnessing the power of the microbiome, SkinBioTherapeutics is proving that skin-deep problems are resolvable
Maryam Mahdi | | Interview
We have all heard of probiotics. These defenders of the gut environment have been shown to assist in healing wounds, preventing infection and strengthening our gut barrier. But the role of these “good” bacteria doesn’t begin and end in our bowels; microbes carry out equally important activities on the surface of skin. Catherine O’Neill, Professor of Translational Dermatology at the University of Manchester, began investigating structures in the skin that make it an efficient barrier against the body's external environment 15 years ago. Now, at the helm of SkinBioTherapeutics, O’Neill and her team are exploring the potential of probiotic bacteria in applications for skin health and disease.
What is the story behind SkinBioTherapeutics?
As an academic, I had a historic interest in the role of the gut barrier and its ability to prevent anything toxic or infectious from getting across the gut and into the bloodstream. Years of research has proven the integral role of bacteria in strengthening the barrier function in the gut and, given this link, it wasn’t a huge leap to question whether the skin microbiome might also participate in the skin’s barrier function!
My team and I were able to identify a particular bacterium that had positive effects in skin models at my lab at the University of Manchester. SkinBioTherapeutics was then set up to develop this bacterium, Skinbiotix, as a therapeutic for skin in health and disease.
When we began we could only make a tiny amount of Skinbiotix in a test tube in my lab. We’ve now shown that we can scale it up and manufacture it with a third party and we’ve formulated it into a cream.
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