In the past thirty years, science has made significant breakthroughs on the molecular and genetic level, some of which answer crucial questions about our own biology. Have you ever asked yourself how does an infant’s skin grow so fast without breaking? Or, why do people develop wrinkles? Or, how do skin cells repair damaged skin? If you have, then you’ve touched on the subject of growth factors.
Every living thing—people, animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria—grows. But cells don’t just automatically multiply: in humans and animals, cells respond to instruction from highly specialized proteins or hormones called growth factors. Named for their function, growth factors were discovered by two scientists who were awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for their work. Growth factors are cellular activators: they are signal molecules that communicate with cells, sending a message to repair, rejuvenate, or proliferate. Hundreds of different growth factors control the more than 300 cell types in humans. They’re the crucial foremen on the construction site that is your body’s development, and they work at full capacity for years. From birth until adulthood, our bodies manufacture copious amounts of various growth factors that affect the growth of everything from bones to organs to nerves to skin. But when we reach maturity, production diminishes. As a result, cell turnover and repair slows, eventually affecting our health and appearance. In fact, our skin gets thinner by 1% each year after we turn 20, and five years after menopause, our skin becomes 30% thinner.
“The result is healthier, denser, more hydrated, younger-looking skin”
Since 1986, medical research into growth factors has exploded. Huge breakthroughs include life-saving treatments such as the use of G-CSF, a growth factor that induces the production of white blood cells after chemotherapy. EGF, or epidermal growth factor, helps burn victims grow new skin and speed wound recovery.
But EGF may also be used to replenish the body’s own supply, which diminishes with age. EGF application stimulates the body’s own skin cells to proliferate, increasing skin turnover and radiance while slowing the aging process. It boosts production of collagen and elastin, the skin’s bouncy scaffolding, increasing tone and elasticity. It boosts the skin’s capacity to store water and reduce water loss. The result is healthier, denser, more hydrated, younger-looking skin.
“By engineering barley's own genetic code for growth so that it most resembles human EGF, BIOEFFECT created barley-based EGF”
In scientific research, EGF has been grown in bacteria, but this poses a risk of endotoxins for humans. Other means of obtaining EGF present ethical, moral, and legal issues, as in the use of human cells. After many years of research, the scientists at BIOEFFECT pioneered an astounding method of growing a plant-based replica of EGF in barley. By engineering barley’s own genetic code for growth so that it most resembles human EGF, BIOEFFECT created barley-based EGF. Because barley is self-pollinating, there is no risk of cross-breeding. In addition to being safe, pure, and efficient, BIOEFFECT’s EGF is grown in a carbon emissions-free greenhouse in inert volcanic pumice.