In Sight: Stimulating Stem Cells for Younger Skin

Agree or disagree with it—stem cell research is a hot topic that cannot be ignored in today’s scientific realm. Its research may lead to the reversal of Parkinson’s and diabetes, to the growth of new organs, to strengthening bones and to healing damaged skin. The research of stem cells in conjunction with burn victims has led to innovation in another field—skin care.

Although it temporarily remained in the shadows, Voss Laboratories’ (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA) stem cell antiaging serum is coming into the sun. The serum initially was available through private channels, only to be introduced to Sephora’s Champs-Elysées location in Paris; however, it has traveled to the United States and its creators are finally talking.

One of the main problems surrounding the serum’s release was confusion about exactly how it is made and how it works. Louis Rinaldi, chief cosmetic development officer for Basic Research (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA), the development company behind products for Voss Laboratories and Klein-Becker, had a hand in the product’s creation and in this report, he clears up the confusion surrounding this stem cell serum.

Exogenous and Endogenous Stem Cells
Most who protest the research of stem cells believe it is unethical to use exogenous stem cells, also known as fetal material or embryonic tissue, for research. The described innovation, however, does not contain exogenous stem cells but rather a material that stimulates adult stem cells.

 “Many are given the erroneous impression that the product contains stem cells. It does not contain stem cells nor does it contain any embryonic tissue. It is a peptide, a chain of amino acids,” said Rinaldi.

The stem cells that are stimulated by the use of the product are endogenous stem cells or adult stem cells. “Endogenous stem cells are in your body already. They are in a stem cell reservoir from the time you are young until the day you die,” added Rinaldi, who noted that endogenous stem cells are always available for rejuvenation, given the correct stimulus. That stimulus, according to Rinaldi, is polypeptide 153, or the main ingredient in the company’s anti- aging serum.

Polypeptide 153
The serum was formulated by Basic Research for Voss Laboratories based on polypeptide 153, an ingredient that Russian scientists in Moscow and St. Petersburg discovered could help trigger stem cell rejuvenation in severe burns and scarred skin.

“Polypeptide 153 designates the 153 sequenced amino acids that comprise the peptide. It is purely a protein molecule,” said Rinaldi.

The peptide was not available for cosmetic use until late 2003, when Voss Laboratories was granted rights by the Russian scientists to use the ingredient. First, however, a large amount of testing had to be performed on the product to determine its efficacy.

Marker Activity
Polypeptide 153 underwent a series of tests before it was used commercially in the serum. Its marker activity on adult stem cells was measured.

“When the product stimulates these markers, you get a popcorn effect; once a couple are rejuvenated, more and more are rejuvenated,” said Rinaldi.

Highlighting stem cell markers boosts cellular renewal, according to Rinaldi, thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles and the discoloration associated with photoaging.

After the product was tested in vitro for its activity on stem cells, it was tested in vivo by performing biopsies both before and after application of the product.

Although polypeptide 153 is the chief ingredient in the serum, additional ingredients are reported to help increase the product’s antiaging benefits. Among them are hydrolyzed soy extract to visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles, a smaller peptide to reduce the appearance of forehead wrinkles, and Scotch pine extract to reduce hyperpigmentation and blotchiness.

According to Rinaldi, the company plans to expand its use of polypeptide 153 from just a face emulsion to a whole line of products for the neck, décolleté, eyes and body. Some have questioned the appropriateness of utilizing the technology for a cosmetic product but Rinaldi finds the usage completely appropriate.

“This product promotes the health of the skin, which in turn can prevent a number of health problems,” said Rinaldi.

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