A scientific research team at the University of British Columbia may have accidentally discovered the genetic secret to wrinkle-free skin, raising hope it could lead to drug that prevents skin aging and wrinkles.
UBC pathology and laboratory medicine professor David Granville were studying the role of the protein Granzyme-B in atherosclerosis and heart attacks. However, in the process, they made a different discovery: the mice they experimented on retained a youthful-looking skin compared to the aged skin on normal mice.
In the experiment, a device was constructed to simulate sun exposure on mice. Each mouse was placed in the carousel that slowly turned under UV lamps, exposing the animals three times a week for three to four minutes each session. It was enough to cause redness on the shaved skin, but not enough to burn.
By the 20th week of repetitive exposure, it was exceptionally clear that the skin of mice lacking Granzyme B had aged significantly less and their collagen was more intact than the control groups.
Granville’s company, viDA Therapeutics, is now using this knowledge to develop a Granzyme-B inhibitor to treat people with discoid lupus erythematosus – an autoimmune disease worsened by sunlight that can lead to disfiguring facial scarring. American musician Seal is known to have this condition.
The company plans to test the topical drug within two years. It could lead to a cosmetic product to prevent the normal, gradual aging of the skin, which is mostly caused by sun exposure.
The UBC team’s findings were published last week in the latest edition of Aging Cell.
Feature Image: Male skin via Shutterstock