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Technology Transfer

By: Steve Herman
Posted: January 20, 2011, from the January 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”—Steve Jobs

Johns Hopkins University, Princeton, Rutgers, Columbia, University of Cincinnati, University of Southern Mississippi … in 2010, the first New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists’ (NYSCC) Technology Transfer Conference brought speakers and posters (visual presentations of research) from all those schools, signaling an important new event where academia and the beauty industry can interact. The $10,000 prize for best research (see “The Top Prize”), as presented, was NYSCC’s unmistakable signal to researchers that the conference was positioned to be a significant new venue for sharing cutting-edge ideas.

The Transfer: Wound Healing to Anti-aging

In the opening presentation, Johns Hopkins’ Wes Blakeslee described the basic resources of the university, highlighted some seed companies grown from the university’s discoveries and technologies it still had in the lab (especially renowned in the medical arena). The university’s research budget is the largest of any university in the country, and one example of the work that budget allows involves biodegradable dextran hydrogels—another illustrated the potential dermal benefits of gene therapy with growth factor DNA, specifically keratinocyte growth factor (KGF).

This is research, notably the university’s Optimal Dextran Hydrogels for Therapeutic Vascular Regeneration and Wound Healing,1 that is first concerned with rapid and effective wound healing.

The science of antiaging skin products is closely related to wound healing. In wound healing, a complex interplay of biological signals and rebuilding mechanisms takes place over a period of days. The skin must be protected from infection, while dermal cells, the extracellular matrix and blood vessels are created out of the neighboring undamaged tissue. The site should return to its pre-injured state with minimum scaring.