The Isolagen process in detail
Isolagens patented autologous (a patients own cells) living cell therapy, or ACS, begins with the injection of a local anesthetic to numb a small section of skin behind the ear. This area was chosen because of its vascularity, lack of sun exposure, and the invisibility of any scarring.
A simple punch biopsy is used to obtain a small 3 mm piece of skin tissue, which is packed in an appropriate container and shipped overnight to the Isolagen laboratories. The minimal incision is closed with an adhesive or single absorbable suture.
At Isolagen, the tissue is cultured utilizing Isolagens patented ACS process. This process separates collagen-producing cells, called fibroblasts, from the rest of the tissue then stimulates them to multiply into tens of millions of new cells.
After approximately six weeks, 1 to 1.5 ml of cultured fibroblasts are sent back to the doctor for injection into the patients wrinkles, lines, and scars.
Generally three sets of injections will be performed, about two weeks apart, with tens of millions of collagen-producing cells being injected during each visit.
Within the patients skin, it is believed that the injected fibroblasts will continue to multiply and create new collagen that may fill dermal imperfections and wrinkles, and may reduce the signs of aging.
Cryogenic storage of cultured cells may also permit patients to receive future treatments with cells that were harvested when the patient was younger. It is unknown at this time whether this would represent a benefit to patients.
Benefits of facial rejuvenation
Since the Isolagen Process is an autologous system (exclusively using a patients own cells), it is anticipated that there may be a substantially reduced possibility of allergic reaction as compared to bovine collagen and other non-natural fillers.
Isolagen hopes to demonstrate that the use of autologous cells will result in prolonged beneficial effects, as the immune system should not reabsorb or reject them as it might with foreign materials and proteins. Patients may experience gradual and continued improvement as a result of the natural activity of the re-introduced cell structure.
Considering that the standard until recently has been bovine collagen, the three potential benefits below may represent substantial advances in facial rejuvenation.
1. Bovine collagen, a foreign protein derived from cows, is generally fully reabsorbed by a patients body within a few months after application, leaving the patient with no visible signs of correction.
2. As additional treatments with bovine collagen are performed, there is a gradual build-up of the bodys antibodies and the development of enzymes that compromise the treatments effectiveness.
3. Combined with the expense and the continued intrusiveness of ongoing treatments, the value and benefit of bovine collagen injections is ultimately diminished.
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