Friday, October 31, 2008


Now that the cosmetics industry has helped us to make us obsessed with wrinkles, can their scientists give us products that do more than peel or puff the outer layer of skins and get rid of those outward signs of aging?

For at least ten years since I’ve been following the efforts to harness stem cells for anti-aging-skin products. Unspecialized stem cells are like chameleons with the ability to grow into any one of the body's more than 200 cell types. Scientists are searching for ways to cultivate stem cells into specific tissues or substances that could be used to treat a variety of illnesses from cancer to heart disease and Alzheimer’s. They believe eventually, such cells may be manipulated into liver, bone, skin cells or other tissues to replace missing, defective or diseased tissue. Stem cell research, however, has faced a political quagmire because stem cells seem to be most potent in the tissue of developing fetuses. The Right To Lifers and others were horrified that such cells might be taken from aborted fetuses or from in embryos grown in a Petri dish---even to help save a human life. How would they react if they knew that stem would be just used for vanity purposes?

In an effort to find other non-controversial ways of obtaining useful stem cells, researchers reported they could get such stem cells from cast off umbilical cords after birth and from other cells in the adult body including skin cells. Progress has been slow in the world of human medicine because of opposition and lack of funding but in the laboratories of cosmetic companies, the chase is on to find anti-aging stem cells. The idea is to fight wrinkles with stem cells that would correct diminishing elastin and collagen.

Elastin is a protein in connective tissue. It is now used in hair and skin products as a moisturizer and conditioner. Collagen is also a protein found in connective tissue. It is elastin and collagen in the skin that undergo changes from aging and over exposure to the sun which contribute to the appearance of wrinkles and outward signs of aging. Both now used in cosmetics are derived from animal tissue.

A Salt Lake City company released its product, Amatokin, at Bloomingdale's last year with the advertising slogan "Stem Cells: The future of skin rejuvenation." The price--- $190 for a 30-milliliter tube - about 1 ounce. Are the stem cells in the product able to actively reproduce elastin and collagen cells in the skin?

PhytoCellTecTM Mallus Domestica of Mibelle Biochemistry announced in October that “for the first time the potential of stem cells for skin rejuvenation is evident”. The company claims “Only stem cells are indispensable for tissue regeneration. Only stem cells can produce new tissue cells. Because the terminally differentiated cells in the epidermis are shed from the skin there must be a continuous delivery.”

The manufacturer says it stem cell products may not only fight wrinkles, it can help keep hair from aging and protect the skin against the sun. Cosmetic companies are known to manipulate the truth but PhytoCellTec TM Mallus Domestica definitely has stem cells in their product. Their compound is derived from cultured Mallus Domestica--apple stem cells.

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