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SwissSunScreen; In vitro evaluation and standardization of sunscreen products – BREF 2010


Für den Inhalt der Angaben zeichnet die Projektleitung verantwortlich.


Dieses Projekt ist einer der fünf Gewinner der Jahresausschreibung 2010 «BREF – Brückenschläge mit Erfolg» – ein Kooperationsprogramm von Gebert Rüf Stiftung und Rektorenkonferenz der Fachhochschulen der Schweiz – KFH. Projektpartner: School of Life Sciences FHNW, Institute of Pharma Technology; Institute of Chemistry and Bioanalytics; BASF GmbH, Cluster Basel (formerly Ciba SC); Spirig Pharma AG, Egerkingen; University Hospital Zurich, Department of Dermatology; International Organization for Standardization ISO, Geneva


  • Projekt-Nr: GRS-044/10 
  • Förderbeitrag: CHF 299'000 
  • Bewilligung: 27.10.2010 
  • Dauer: 03.2011 - 01.2014 
  • Handlungsfeld:  BREF, 2009 - 2010



A competence platform for the evaluation and the standardization of sunscreen products has been established utilizing the pool of knowhow formed by all partners involved in this project. The expertise of the SwissSunScreen platform is the use of in vitro methodology for the assessment and the prediction of the performance of sunscreen products concentrating on the sun protection factor (SPF). This platform is working on the development of in vitro tests for SPF based on spectroscopic and biomolecular criteria and taking into account applicatory characteristics such as skin distribution and water resistance of the product. The tests under development will be standardized in accord with international regulatory guidelines and will be submitted for circular trials and final approval and adoption by industry standards organizations. Due to the current lack of a recognized alternative, the sun protection factor and applicatory characteristics of a sunscreen product submitted for regulatory approval are determined in humans in vivo.

The platform is physically centered at the School of Life Sciences – FHNW with specific capabilities localized peripherally with the partners. It opens the possibility for service to industry in sunscreen product development and evaluation and for research on new UV absorbers and final products at a pre-competitive level. Therefore, the network of cooperating academic, industrial and regulatory partners will be sustained or even expanded beyond the scope of this project offering the potential to become a center of excellence in the area. This prospect renders a prototype character to the project.

Was ist das Besondere an diesem Projekt?

Skin cancer rates worldwide are on the rise for which the increased sun exposure of the population seems to play an essential role. Research and development of sunscreen products account for one of the most dynamic categories in the global cosmetic and toiletries market posting an 5% compound annual growth rate.
The relevance of the field is therefore defined by
- its importance for health care
- its business potential
- the scientific interest

Scientific activities in this area remain isolated and are primarily opportunistically driven by industrial product development. Interaction between the involved disciplines and the holistic understanding of interdependences is frequently erratic. The establishment of the SwissSunScreen platform fulfils uniquely an unmet need in the institutional landscape and creates added value by
- the synergy effect at the level of the technical expertise
- the representation of the manufacturing and regulatory sectors
- the creation of the possibility for future R&D and service activities

The advantages of in vitro tests under development include:
- Speed / efficiency
- Low cost (compared to the clinic)
- Unobjectionable ethics
- Enabling of extensive product optimization
- Possibility to use for basic mechanistic studies

The project entails a close working association of partners from the academic, the industrial and the regulatory world in order to create a sustained collaborative relationship potentially evolving into a center of excellence with long term impact on the scientific and business sides of the field. This is a powerful way of dissemination of the results of this work in the form of ongoing service and research arrangements for the benefit of the industrial partners who will be able to exploit the available competence for research and development purposes. Moreover, the immediate participation of the International Organisation for Standardization opening the possibility to adopt the results for the issue of new standards guarantees a marked multiplicatory effect of the work. The partners gain a competitive advantage through knowhow that is used for rational and efficient product development, accurate product claims and better material utilization and by leading the way towards improved standardization. The result is greatly beneficial for the School of Life Sciences which will acquire the chance of becoming an opinion leader in the field.


1. The proposed concept for in vitro SPF measurement was experimentally tried and evaluated.
2. Scientific principle was demonstrated.
3. A new method was developed and validated.
4. Work towards development of test methodology continues with the support of the partners
5. A cellular assay was shown in principle to be appropriate for defining a molecular SPF that is linked to the potential of sun screen products to reduce mutations which may be related to skin cancer. This underlines the relevance and benefit of the present project for public health.
6. A clinical study with healthy human volunteers demonstrated significant differences between body sites and age groups with respect to sun screen application.


National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration. Switzerland. Statistics of Cancer Incidence 1983-2007. Zürich 2010 (data period 2003-2007);
National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration. Switzerland. Statistics of Cancer Mortality 1983-2007. Zürich 2009 (data period 2003-2007);
In vitro Sun Protection Factor: Still a Challenge with No Final Answer, Rohr M, Klette E, Ruppert S, Bimzcok R, Klebon B, Heinrich U, Tronnier H, Johncock W, Peters S, Pflücker F, Rudolph T, Flösser-Müller H, Jenni K, Kockott D, Lademann J, Herzog B, Bielfeldt S, Mendrok-Edinger C, Hanay C, Zastrow L, Skin Pharmacol. Physiol., 23, 201 – 212 (2010);
In vitro Measurements of Sunscreen Protection, Stanfield J, Osterwalder U, Herzog B, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 9, 489 – 494 (2010);
Sun Protection Factors – Worldwide Confusion, Osterwalder U, Herzog B, British J. Dermatol., 161 (Suppl. 3), 13 – 24 (2009);
Influence of Applied Quantity of Sunscreen Products on the Sun Protection Factor – a Multicenter Study Organized by the DGK Taskforce Sun Protection, Bimczok R, Gers-Barlag H, Mundt E, Klette, Bielfeldt S, Rudolph T, Pflücker F, Heinrich U, Tronnier H, Johncock W, Klebon B, Westenfelder H, Flößer-Müller H, Jenni K, Kockott D, Lademann J, Herzog B, Rohr M, Skin Pharmacol. Physiol. 20, 57 – 64 (2007).


SwissSunScreen für verlässlichen Sonnenschutz, Regio Aktuell, 9/2012


Am Projekt beteiligte Personen

Prof. Dr. G. Imanidis, School of Life Sciences – FHNW (project head) georgios.notexisting@nodomain.comimanidis@fhnw.notexisting@nodomain.comch
PD Dr. B. Herzog (BASF)
Prof. Dr. C. Surber (Spirig)
Dr. U. Osterwalder (ISO)
M. Sohn (School of Life Sciences and BASF)
V. Korn (School of Life Sciences)
F. Thoenen (School of Life Sciences)

Letzte Aktualisierung dieser Projektdarstellung  14.07.2020