CSIRO Discovery Fights Cell Ageing

July 30, 1997

CSIRO scientists have discovered a natural substance which rejuvenates ageing human skin cells.

Dr Robin Holliday and his colleagues have shown that Beta Alistine'(b alanyl histidine) a substance naturally present in human and animal tissues, has remarkable properties when it comes to fighting the ageing process.

His discovery, the result of many years' laboratory research, has led to today's launch by the Sydney-based Beta Peptide Foundation PL of three revolutionary skin-care products which contain Beta Alistine' as the main active ingredient.

Normally human cells can divide only a limited number of times, but Dr Holliday and his colleague Gail McFarland showed that Beta Alistine' is capable of extending the number of divisions. These studies relate directly to skin ageing, because cells from elderly individuals divide fewer times.

Their second discovery is that ageing human cells are rejuvenated when treated with Beta Alistine'. The cells rapidly recover their youthful appearance -- but if the treatment ceases they immediately become senescent.

The CSIRO team also found that Beta Alistine' helps to prevent cross-linking of collagen and other proteins in skin. Over the years, and especially with exposure to the sun, cross-links form between adjacent collagen fibres causing the characteristic wrinkling and loss of elasticity.

Sydney University's Dr Vivienne Reeve has also shown that Beta Alistine' maintains the skin's immune defences which are suppressed by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Scientists in the UK, working with the Australian company Peptech PL, have shown that Beta Alistine' can protect cell proteins from naturally-occurring damage.

Beta Alistine' has other important properties as well. It can quench harmful oxygen free radicals and scavenge toxic heavy metals.

Beta Alistine' is the primary active ingredient in three new Australian products ­ a face creme, a hand creme and a serum ­ launched by the Beta Peptide Foundation.

Foundation chairman Dr Geoff Grigg said the qualities of Beta Alistine' demonstrated by the CSIRO team and other scientists made it a highly desirable agent to include in skin care formulations.

"In the past there have been many claims about the supposedly magical anti-ageing properties of various creams and lotions.

"Dr Holliday, who is renowned for his discoveries in molecular genetics and ageing, was the first scientist to clearly show in laboratory experiments that old human cells can be rejuvenated."Now, thanks to the work of the CSIRO team and other collaborating laboratories, we can create skin care products which contain a substance which has been shown to combat the ageing of human cells in culture," Dr Grigg said.

CSIRO Australia

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