2012 January 14 Saturday
Plastic Surgeons Use Cell Therapies For Facial Upgrades

Check out this piece in the Miami Herald. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists are injecting fat cells and stem cells into facial regions to plump up faces for a more youthful look.

But some South Florida plastic surgeons and dermatologists are expanding their repertoire to include new options, such as injecting fat or stem cells into the face, as well as using ultrasound technology to tighten sagging skin. Im doing a lot of fat, said Dr. Constantino Mendieta, a Miami plastic surgeon and spokesman for the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, who is using fat as a natural way to add volume to the face. As we age, we tend to lose fat from the face, as well as from the hands, derriere and breasts, Mendieta said.

I've been expecting the plastic surgeons to take an aggressive approach to use of cell therapies than most medical specialties. Plastic surgery is one of most free market-oriented areas of medicine. Usually patients pay with their own money. The potential pool of patients is far larger than the number who currently use plastic surgeons. Better treatments will pull in more customers and generate bigger incomes for the surgeons. The plastic surgeons already have a history of innovation.

The good news as I see it: If people start spending large amounts of money on appearance-improving cell therapies their money will fund a biotech industry for stem cell manipulation that will use part of their revenue to improve their capabilities for manipulating and improving stem cells. Consumer dollars spent on cell therapies will accelerate the eventual development of real rejuvenation therapies that extend life.

By Randall Parker    2012 January 14 08:14 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (11)
2011 September 06 Tuesday
Fat Stem Cells Key To Reversing Hair Loss?

If you are losing your hair then maybe your scalp is just not fat enough.

Yale researchers have discovered the source of signals that trigger hair growth, an insight that may lead to new treatments for baldness.

The researchers identified stem cells within the skin's fatty layer and showed that molecular signals from these cells were necessary to spur hair growth in mice, according to research published in the Sept. 2 issue of the journal Cell.

"If we can get these fat cells in the skin to talk to the dormant stem cells at the base of hair follicles, we might be able to get hair to grow again," said Valerie Horsley, assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology and senior author of the paper.

Injections of adipocyte precursor cells caused mice to grow hair.

The team tested an injection of the precursor cells on mice who were unable to produce these fat cells. Before the injection, the follicles of the mice were unable to produce both hair and the fat tissue.

But two weeks after injection, the study found that hair follicles had begun to grow.

Imagine methods to isolate adipocyte precursor cells and grow large numbers for injection. Would they bring back lost hair? Or would chemical signals in their environment prevent them from forming a supporting fat layer for hair follicles? Millions of men would be willing guinea pigs in experiments to find out.

By Randall Parker    2011 September 06 09:46 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (11)
2008 July 22 Tuesday
Lasers Boost Facial Collagen Production

Carbon dioxide lasers cause damage that boost collagen production to lessen wrinkles.

Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing appears to be an effective long-term treatment for facial wrinkles, according to a report in the July/August issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The carbon dioxide laser vaporizes water molecules inside and outside of cells, causing thermal damage to the surrounding tissue, the authors write as background information in the article. In response to this insult, the skin produces more of the protein collagen, which fills in wrinkles. "In addition to structural changes, the healing process frequently leads to pigmentary [coloring] changes," the authors write. "These changes in skin pigmentation may be desirable, such as when patients wish to remove solar evidence of aging; however, changes in pigmentation after treatment can often be a troubling adverse effect."

In 15 to 20 years we are going to look back on the plastic surgery of today and marvel at how primitive it was. Okay, get this. You want more collagen because your collagen production has declined with age and your face looks older. So what do you do? Shoot lasers at your face to cause damage so that the facial cells produce lots of collagen in response to the chemical signals produced by the damage. You have to damage yourself to make yourself look younger. Seems pretty primitive to me.

Most of the side effects of the laser treatment go away within a couple of years.

P. Daniel Ward, M.D., M.S., and Shan R. Baker, M.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, assessed 47 patients (42 women and five men, average age 52) who underwent carbon dioxide laser resurfacing on their entire face between 1996 and 2004.

Twenty-one patients (45 percent) had no complications following the procedure; of those who did, 14 (30 percent) had milia (small, white cysts) or acne; eight (17 percent) had hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin); six (13 percent) had hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin); one (2 percent) developed an infection; and one (2 percent) developed sagging of the eyelids.

After an average of 2.3 years of follow-up, most of these complications had resolved. Patients' scores on a scale measuring facial wrinkles improved 45 percent, and were consistent over all areas of the face. "With the exception of one case of hyperpigmentation, which resolved within two years of treatment, hypopigmentation was the only long-term adverse effect," the authors write. "This complication was present in six patients (13 percent). The patients who developed hypopigmentation were more likely to have a greater response to treatment."

We need hormone, drug, gene therapy, or cell therapy treatment that will boost collagen production. Stem or gene therapy look most promising in the long run because they will reverse some of the aging and provide more youthful cells that can produce more collagen.

By Randall Parker    2008 July 22 11:36 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (2)
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