Is this the end for wrinkles?
Scientists ‘reverse skin cell damage’
THERE may never be a cure for growing old. But we’re already one step closer to agelessness – in looks at least.
Wrinkles could vanish with the help of drugs that boost production of young skin cells, according to scientists.
A research team has identified a protein which it says is vital to looking young. As fewer new cells containing it are born, the skin appears misshapen, thinner and blotchy.
Now they say two drugs that boost levels of the protein – called COL17A1 – could provide an ‘anti-ageing intervention’ that makes wrinkles significantly less pronounced.
Over time, fewer strong skin cells containing the protein are born – meaning weaker ones take over and our skin develops a wrinkly appearance. Stress and sun damage can also reduce protein levels.
Emi Nishimura of Tokyo Medical and Dental School and colleagues have now discovered two chemicals that boost levels of COL17A1 and stimulate production of young skin cells which can displace older ones. The finding ‘points towards directions for facilitating skin regeneration and reducing skin ageing,’ the authors wrote.
As well as their rejuvenating effect, the chemicals Y27632 and apocynin could also help wounds heal and even prevent skin cancer, their report said.
Responding to the findings, Ganna Bilusova and James DeGregori, both of the University of Colorado, suggest higher protein levels could stop tumours forming ‘ because these fit cells compete with (and eliminate) both damaged stem cells and tumour-prone cells’. The study, which appears in journal Nature, was based on research using mice and human skin grown in a laboratory. The chemicals have not been tested on living humans.