Archives for September 25, 2007

Stem Cell Therapy for Skin

Concentrating on the latest discoveries in skin science and regenerative medicine, Paris hosted Stem Cells and the Skin last week. The event marked the 7th such symposium for LVMH Research.

Scientists from Europe and the United States were invited to discuss the latest developments in stem cell therapy and its possible benefits to skin care. French luxury consumer group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy used its research arm to organize the event.

Stem cells are at the heart of organ development and tissue repair because they have the potential to differentiate into different and specialized cells.

For a range of degenerative conditions and injuries such as premature baldness, severe burns, and more serious conditions such as heart disease and Parkinson’s; stem cell treatment promises benefits. Recent findings in therapeutic applications and the advances in stem cell research for the science of the skin were explored and implications discussed at LVMH’s symposium.

Cedric Blanpain’s work on the characterization, activation and differentiation of the epidermal stem cell was presented. Blanpain works at the Interdisciplinary Research Institute, at Free University of Brussels, in Belgium.

Residing in a portion of the hair follicle called the bulge, special multipotent follicular stem cells were the focus of Blanpain’s research. Real therapeutic benefits may come form these cells in the future because of their multipotency; the fact that they can divide into many different cell types.

To help pinpoint the processes that lead to hair regeneration, the project isolates the bulge stem cells, and investigates the optimal conditions for in vitro clonal analyses.

Additionally, a presentation entitled ‘Epidermal Basal Layer: the Regenerative Stem Cell Skin Compartment’ was given by Carlo Pincelli, from the Institute of Dermatology, at the University of Moderna and Reggio Emilia, in Modena, Italy.

Pincelli’s work focuses on investigating the biochemicals that help to regulate the survival and division of the stem cells, which reside on the basal layer of the skin in between the hair follicles.

The protein survivin and high levels of a transmembrane receptor called beta1-integrin were isolated by Pincelli and his team. These two components appear to be important for the division and differentiation of the stem cells.

For the treatment of skin disorders and burns, stem cell therapy could be used for therapeutic purposes. Improved knowledge of how the skin renews itself and how the stem cells function highlight this fact.

Concentrating on the possibility of in-vivo ‘reconstructed’ skin, a concept which LVMH feels would have powerful implications for our ageing society was the final discussion of the symposium. The catalyst was the question “The reconstructed man, a probable future?” by Eric Perrier, the Executive Vice President of LVMH’s R&D center.