Company uses cultured skin cells to fight wrinkles

November 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
While stem cells may someday hold the key to treating a wide range of diseases, a form of that technology is now being used to combat aging. It's a cosmetic procedure using your own cells for wrinkle relief.

Linda Reid has been waiting months for a cosmetic treatment that actually began with her own body. Last year, we watched as San Francisco dermatologist Vic Narurkar, M.D., took a small tissue sample from an area behind her ear. That biopsy returned in a slightly different form.

"Then this will be thawed out for 15 minutes before the treatment. These are her live cells containing all those fibroblasts," said Narurkar.

A company called LAVIV used it to culture skin cells known as fibroblasts.

"Healthy fibroblasts produce new collagen. So just the way as they would in your skin, they are producing their own collagen over time," said Narurkar.

After first numbing Reid, Narurkar injects the fibroblasts into the wrinkles and age lines in her's face, where they will ideally mature and begin producing fresh collagen, ultimately plumping and smoothing the areas. Linda says her goal is an improvement more subtle than a facelift or other surgical procedure.

"That's really what I'm looking for. Not young, I'm not going after youth," said Reid.

According to LAVIV -- which supplied us with before and after photos -- the living cells can produce long lasting improvements, not only in facial lines, but also skin quality. Temporary side effects can include bruising and redness, but since the cells are harvested from the patient, there is almost no risk allergic reaction. The treatment will include three sessions six weeks apart and patients do have to wait to see results.

"Because it's a gradual process they're going to see improvement over time, which a lot of patients like, so they don't abruptly change. They look better and better over time," said Narurkar.

We caught up with Reid about eight weeks later. Narukar photographed the results. He says the biggest early improvement was in the lines around Reid's nose upper lip area.

"The fines lines are better because its creating like a mattress or a foundation if you would with the collagen," said Narukar.

Narurkar says after the three treatments are complete, Reid can expect to see continued smoothing and plumpness.

"It's just kind of a natural progression, things happen over time and there's a fullness that I really like and that's what I'm looking for," said Reid.

The cost for three treatments together ranges from $3,000-$4,000. The improvement is expected to last a year or longer.

Written and produced by Tim Didion.


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