Comment by Robert Kriss, C2ST, Editor
Rong Wang, Professor of Chemistry at Illinois Tech, is working on an ingenious method to extract, electrically stimulate and replace human cells that provide physical support for many parts of the human body, such as the pelvic floor in women, skin and cartilage in knees and hips. The cells are called fibroblasts. They produce collagen, a protein that in one form provides flexibility and in another form provides structural support. When we’re young, the fibroblasts produce sufficient collagen to keep our internal organs in place, our skin unwrinkled and our knees and hips moving smoothly and painlessly. As we age, these cells produce less collagen, which can cause a pelvic floor to collapse, skin to wrinkle and joints to become stiff and painful. Wang has discovered that electrical stimulation of fibroblasts turns back the clock. The stimulation causes fibroblasts to produce collagen at levels and proportions found in much younger people. This discovery opens the door to the development of a biocompatible, cellular fountain of youth using the patient’s own cells. For more information concerning this potentially game-changing research, click here.