The technology might be able to replace dermal filler injections and cosmetic surgery procedures, says the company ProGDerm that is working to bring the science to market.
The peptide modulates the behaviour of the RHAMM protein (Receptor for Hyaluronan Mediated Motility) which was originally discovered during research into cancer cell mobility.
Regenerate fat lost in ageing process
According to Erick Rabins, the vice president of AlliedMinds the company behind ProGDerm, the RHAMM peptide can alter the creation of lipocytes (fat cells) in the skin and may help replace those lost during the aging process.
“In different layers of the skin there are undifferentiated cells [pluripotent cells] that can be convinced, based on the chemical environment to become lipocytes,” he said.
The technology is still in the early stages and the researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are still trying to understand exactly how controllable the process is, and how applicable it will be for everyday use, Rabins explained.
For example it is not yet known how long the effects of this kind of treatment would last.
“We hope that it would be more long lasting and more natural looking than dermal fillers on the market now,” said Rabins.
The animal tests and the human cell models have not thrown up any toxicity concerns or adverse reactions, according to Rabins. Having said that, the technology is a long way, and a lot of safety tests, away from market.
“We are fairly optimistic because of the way it works, its surface application and the data from animal studies, so we aren’t expecting any toxicity issues,” he said.
Regarding a possible timescale, Rabins said it could be anywhere between 3 and 6 years, although new developments in the US regulatory framework may speed up the regulation side of things.
Although the company is currently looking at injecting the peptide, a future aim is to find other ways of delivering it.
“If we could incorporate it into a cosmetic cream and topically apply it that would be great, people would like to get rid of the injectable application,” he said.
Delivery options depend on how controlled the dose and dose region has to be, he explained, adding that the company is currently developing some potentially patentable systems that would enable a very controlled application without an injection.
For Rabins, the technology has significant potential in many markets, including wound healing, but the company is concentrating first on the cosmetics market due to ‘more readily available investment dollars’.