Berkeley Lab Finds Skin Benefit in Cancer-inducing Protein

Feb 12, 2009 | Contact Author | By: Katie Schaefer
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Title: Berkeley Lab Finds Skin Benefit in Cancer-inducing Protein
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Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported that Receptor for Hyaluron Mediated Motility (RHAMM) may be able to reduce wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin. The lab suggests that the protein linked to the spread of several major human cancers may also benefit skin.

The discovery was found when Mina Bissell, a cell biologist at  Berkeley Lab, was collaborating with Eva Turley, an oncology professor at the University of Western Ontario, on a study of the role that RHAMM plays in regulating the signaling of adipocytes during the repairing of tissue wounds from injuries such as skin cuts, heart attacks and stroke.

Earlier research by Turley, who discovered RHAMM, had shown that over-expression of this protein points to a poor patient outcome for such human cancers as breast, colon, rectal and stomach. In the course of their collaborative study, Bissell and Turley, working with mice, discovered that blocking the expression of the RHAMM protein, either by deleting its gene, or through the introduction of a blocking reagent, can be used to selectively induce the generation of fat cells to replace those lost in the aging process. At the same time blocking RHAMM expression also reduces deposits of unhealthy visceral fat.

The researchers find that this technique could  be used as a means of addressing wrinkles, tightening the face and figure enhancement through local injection. Topical applications have not yet been established. Potential applications of RHAMM modulation in addition to wrinkle reduction include normalizing skin appearance after reconstructive or cosmetic surgery, e.g., grafted tissue on burn victims. The protein has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on tumors and inflammatory diseases in mice.