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REMOVING WRINKLES WITH RHAMM
(press release from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
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Hollywood stars of a certain age take note: Research
at Berkeley Lab suggests that a protein linked to the spread of
several major human cancers may also hold great potential for the
elimination of wrinkles and the rejuvenation of the skin. If this
promise bears fruit, controlling concentrations of the RHAMM protein
could one day replace surgical procedures or injections with
neurotoxins that carry such unpleasant side-effects as muscle
paralysis and loss of facial expressions.
RHAMM stands for Receptor for Hyaluronan Mediated Motility. Mina
Bissell, a cell biologist with Berkeley Lab's Life Sciences Division
and a leading authority on breast cancer, was collaborating with Eva
Turley, an oncology professor at the University of Western Ontario and
leading authority on tissue polysaccharides, on a study of the role
that RHAMM plays in regulating the signaling of adipocytes (fat cells)
during the repairing of tissue wounds from injuries such as skin cuts,
heart attacks and stroke. Earlier research by Turley, who discovered
RHAMM, had shown that over-expression of this protein points to a poor
patient outcome for such human cancers as breast, colon, rectal and
In the course of their collaborative study, Bissell and Turley,
working with mice, discovered that blocking the expression of the
RHAMM protein - either by deleting its gene, or through the
introduction of a blocking reagent - can be used to selectively induce
the generation of fat cells to replace those lost in the aging
process. At the same time blocking RHAMM expression also reduces
deposits of unhealthy visceral fat.
"This technique could be developed as a means of providing a
non-surgical approach for normalizing skin appearance after
reconstructive surgery, for wrinkle reduction, and for face lifts and
figure enhancement," said Bissell.
Said Turley, "Unlike neurotoxin agents, which have to be injected
periodically, a localized injection of a RHAMM inhibitor should
produce long-lasting skin volumizing effects and would not involve
muscle paralysis, which means there would be no loss of expression if
it were to be injected into the face."
There are compounds now on the market that promote the production of
adipocyte cells and result in increased subcutaneous fat, however,
these adipocyte-promoting factors also increase the production of
visceral fat. The mouse studies led by Bissell and Turley have shown
that blocking RHAMM expression significantly increases subcutaneous
fat while decreasing visceral fat. This suggests that blocking RHAMM
should also have a beneficial effect on patients with obesity-related
diseases, cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Another unique advantage
of RHAMM is that its expression in normal adult human tissues is
"Therefore, anti-RHAMM agents should have low toxicity and according
to preliminary animal studies, could be beneficial to patients with a
tumor or inflammation-related disease," said Turley.
Potential applications of RHAMM modulation in addition to wrinkle
reduction include normalizing skin appearance after reconstructive or
cosmetic surgery, e.g., grafted tissue on burn victims. It has also
been shown to have a beneficial effect on tumors and inflammatory
diseases in mice.
For more on the research of Mina Bissell, visit the Website at
For more on the research of Eva Turley, visit the Website at
Source: Lynn Yarris
Knowledge is Power.
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