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Human growth factors in anti-aging products.

SALES OF ANTI-AGING products are growing more than 8% a year, b according to a recent report by the Freedonia Group, Cleveland, OH. A series of new and improved products that reportedly both maintain health and enhance appearance are beginning to reach the market. Baby boomers are willing and able to pay for products that provide anti-aging benefits, according to the Freedonia Group, which predicts the anti-aging market will reach $4.1 billion by 2009.

Most multinational cosmetic companies and doctor-developed dermatological products have not incorporated human growth factors into their products, but times are changing. Cosmetic industry executives are becoming more interested in novel materials, especially synthetic hormones. This interest is primarily because they increase the rate at which cells in the body grow and maintain skin's youth. Some skin care companies are launching products with human growth factor (HGF), as it has proved to be an effective wound healer. Despite the promise of HGF, there are some serious safety concerns that are detailed in this column.

Despite some concern, several HGF-based products are already on the market. TNS Recovery Complex, manufactured by Skin Medica, contains growth factors produced by fibroblast cells, which also make collagen and hyaluronic acid. This product may stimulate fibroblasts to make more collagen.

Cell Rejuvenation Serum, manufactured by Topix, contains transforming growth factor (TGF) beta, a growth factor that increases collagen production. According to background research, it may prevent premature aging. There are also cosmeceuticals that contain different types of growth factors of both plant and animal origin. Furfuryladenine (kinetin), a synthetic plant growth factor that delays senescence of plant cells, retards cellular aging in-vitro. (1) Transferring growth factor is a very valuable human growth factor and is beneficial due to its role in neo collagenesis. (2)

Efficacy Issues

When you apply TGF- and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-containing product on the skin, there may be an increase in the growth rate of undesirable cells, which could encourage the growth of skin cancer. TGF stimulates collagen, which could encourage scarring. Most of the research on HGF has examined its effect on wound healing and its short-term use--not its long-term use in skin care products. However, HGF is promoted for removing wrinkles. Research has examined HGF's effect in-vitro and one can watch the growth process of cells in a short period of time. But if excess HGF is added, the skin cells die sooner than they would have if no HGF were added.

Dr. Donald Owen has suggested that the body produces HGF in exquisitely small concentrations in just the right location and time. (3) Growth factors such as EGF and TGFB are large configurations which do not penetrate the skin and lose their activity within days at normal temperature. Even with all these complications, however, you can be sure that the cosmetic industry will continue to use HGF.

HGF is a complex family of hormones that controls cell growth and cell division in skin, blood, bone and nerve tissue. HGF is primarily responsible for division and reproduction of cells, including some cancer cells. Synthetic HGF are also used for wound healing and immune system stimulation.

As previously noted, TGF stimulates wound healing and collagen growth. EGF stimulates cell division of different cell types, Epo(erythropoietin). It also stimulates the growth of cells that carry oxygen to the body.

Other primary human growth factors include:

* Fibroblast growth factor (FGF). Stimulates the growth of the nervous system and bone formation.

* Insulin-like growth factor (IGF). Stimulates fat cells and connective tissue cells.

* Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Stimulates division in cell lining the liver, skin cells and cells that produce skin color.

* IL(interleukins). Stimulates growth of white blood cells.

* NGF (nerve growth factor). Stimulates growth of nerve tissues.

* PDGF (platelet derived growth factor). Promotes the growth of blood clotting factor.

* VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). Stimulates the growth of blood vessels.

Production and Mechanism

HGF are the most important hormones for keeping us young. They are released by the pituitary gland and converted in the liver to another anti-aging hormone called Insulin Growth Factor (IGF-1) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which is produced by the adrenal glands.

HGF signal cells to reproduce or tell a cell to create new cells that have different functions. HGFs are transferred into chemical messages that bind to receptor sites on the cell surface. HGF are basically messengers that are received by specific receptor sites on the cells. They mediate signaling pathways between and within cells. When there is a skin injury, a variety of growth factors saturate the wound site and synergistically interact and initiate a cascade of wound healing processes. This mechanism is not well understood, but it is established that tissue is repaired and regenerated when multiple growth factors interact synergistically. Collagen and fibronectin synthesis are initiated by transforming growth factor (TGF-B) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) together stimulate fibroblasts to produce glycosoaminoglycans (GAG) and effect the proliferation of smooth muscle cells.

A variety of benefits.

As we age, HGF production declines by about 10% every decade. Studies of HGH replacement in older people have shown that it improves quality of life and sexual potency, provides higher energy level and leaner muscle, causes fat loss, and improves memory and skin elasticity. They are vital to well being and health and affect the whole body. Many professional athletes, body builders and celebrities take HGH supplements to look younger and feel healthier and have tighter and firmer skin.

Most supplements are composed of hormone-releasing L-group amino acids such as glutamine, arginine and lysine that help stimulate and bring about an increase in the body's release of a natural human growth hormone. Some products also include ingredients that increase the body's production of the powerful hormone IGF-1.

Many experts insist that raising IGF-1 level in the body is the most effective method to raise production of human growth hormone, resulting in skin elasticity improvement. Some growth factors are used as stem cells for treating some chronic diseases such as cancer and leukemia. They are used after chemotherapy to boost the body's defenses. It is not known whether they really work in human skin to reduce aging; however, it is theorized that growth factors stimulate new collagen and elastin which, in turn, lead to more resilient skin.

Lingering Concerns

Cosmeceuticals such as peptides, niacinamide co-enzyme-Q10, DMAE and hyaluronic acid, improve skin's appearance and texture. However, growth factors are large molecules, making them difficult for skin to absorb. (4) HGH administration is considered controversial and it should not be used simply to improve aged skin. Both consumers and dermatologists need more data on products containing human growth factors. Although TGF beta is important in wound healing and in activating collagen production, there are still many questions and concerns about the safety profile and side effects such as water retention, diabetes and the risk of developing cancerous cells. Additional research is needed to understand how they work and substantiate their safety to determine which growth factors are desirable and not harmful.

The OTC anti-aging market is crowded with me-too products that contain the same ingredients, none of which have significant proof of efficacy. Although the efficacy of HGF has been substantiated in-vitro, it still lacks the backing of a large clinical study. Research into human growth factors is very complicated and intriguing, especially its long-term risk or stability when they are used in cosmetics and applied to skin every day. Until long-term safety/efficacy studies are completed, its topical use in cosmetics should be of concern to consumers.

References:

(1.) Rattan SI, Clark BF, Biochem, Biophys, Res. Comnmn. 1994:201:665-672

(2.) Sadick N. Cosmeceuticals, J. Drugs Dermatolo. 2003, 2:529-537.

(3.) Owen, Donald, Global Cosmetic Industry, March, 1999

(4.) Away with Wrinkles, Dr. Nick Lowe. p. 107.

NAVIN GERIA IS VICE PRESIDENT OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FDR SPABERMACEUTICALS, MARTINSVILLE, NJ. HE HAS MORE THAN 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE PERSONAL CARE INDUSTRY AND WAS PREVIOUSLY WITH PFIZER, WARNER-LAMBERT, SCHICK, BRISTOL-MYERS AND, MOST RECENTLY, LEDERMA CONSUMER PRODUCTS LABORATORIES. HE HAS EARNED OVER 15 U.S. PATENTS, HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN COSMETIC TRADE MAGAZINES AND HAS BEEN BOTH A SPEAKER AND MODERATOR AT COSMETIC INDUSTRY EVENTS.

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Title Annotation:Anti-Aging & Cosmeceutical Corner
Author:Geria, Navin M.
Publication:Household & Personal Products Industry
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:1363
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