Science fiction writers have always liked two ideas: the first is to grow a living organism in a test tube, and the second is to freeze a whole person and leave it until better times. Both of these fantastic ideas formed the basis of a new real technology… the preservation of youth.
Of course, we are not talking about freezing a person until science has mastered the secret of immortality in full. But science already knows how to freeze living cells, and science can again create an environment in which, after thawing, they can successfully divide.
Young and active
The first developments on this topic were carried out in the USA, and recently in Italy, at the 57th National Congress of Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine, a group of researchers presented their own development. According to group leader Roberta Lovrelho, this is a fundamentally new technique. Until now, fillers of various origins have been used to maintain tissues.
The most popular were two types: either preparations based on hyaluronic acid (or other components specially designed for this purpose), or the patient’s own fat cells. The novelty of the technique is that the patient will be injected with his own fibroblasts, taken from him at a young age and preserved by cryopreservation.
Fibroblasts that produce collagen are “responsible” for the elastic and correct structure of the skin. With age, fibroblasts become smaller – this is a natural process, which until now had nothing to oppose: both creams and various injections can only stimulate the activity of fibroblasts, but cannot in any way affect their number. The technique solves this problem: having removed a small amount of young fibroblasts, they are kept until the right moment; the cells are then injected into the tissues of the patient.
At the moment, it is the last stage that is well studied: the patient’s cells are multiplied and transplanted into the desired area – the action is to increase the number of active fibroblasts, which in itself gives a positive result. However, the use of young cells, whose biological age, due to cryopreservation, is less than the age of the patient who continued to live his normal life, will give more significant results. The introduced young cells will improve the structure of the skin not only by number, but also by their “skill” – their optimal quality.
The cell transplantation technique, developed by a group of Italian researchers, solves the problem of aging in the following way: by removing a small amount of young fibroblasts, they are preserved until the right moment; the cells are then injected into the tissues of the patient.
How it’s done
A small piece of skin tissue is taken behind the ear – the area where fibroblasts are of the best quality, as they are always naturally protected from sunlight. The resulting sample is sent to the laboratory for research: specialists will extract the required number of fibroblasts and place them in a nutrient medium, where the cells will actively divide. In the shortest possible time, a very high concentration of living and active cells will be achieved. They will be frozen to be kept at -198 degrees until needed.
It is interesting that these cells can be multiplied repeatedly, that is, a small “capital” obtained at first glance can turn into a real cell bank for life.
The ideal age to receive this “capital” is before the age of 30, when the cells are in the best shape and are able to produce especially a lot of collagen. However, experts are ready to work with the cells of older patients – up to 45-50 years.
For injections, an enriched mixture is used: a set of certain vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, coenzymes are added to fibroblasts – these substances have proven themselves well in the traditional methods of facial rejuvenation that have already become traditional. Usually, the face, neck and décolleté area is subject to treatment, although, if desired, other parts of the body can be additionally “rejuvenated”.
Clearly positive and some difficulties
The advantages of the technique come from the fact of using “native” material: the skin accepts “its own” well, negative reactions of the immune system are unlikely. In addition, the results obtained are very natural, and the entire operation can be repeated as many times as desired. Difficulties begin at the stage of putting the theory into practice. First of all, to create such personal cell banks, you need laboratories equipped with the appropriate equipment and trained personnel. All this, of course, requires serious financial investments.
The economic side of things for the patient looks something like this: tissue sampling and cell selection will cost 1000 euros, cryopreservation – 1200 euros, preparation of the mixture for injection and administration of the mixture – another 1000 euros. Not cheap, but not expensive either, considering the unsurpassed quality of the result.