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SMiHA attends the IFSCC- The Highlights

The Centre for Skin Sciences (CSS, The University of Bradford, UK) team members Julie Thornton (SMiHA and CSS director), Richard Baker (Research assistant) and Gill Westgate (CSS and SMiHA business development manager) attended the 32nd The International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) conference in London. Located in the Westminster Plaza hotel – just a step away from Big Ben – the IFSCC conference and exhibition is the premier science event for the global cosmetics industry (event program). With over 900 delegates, two floors of exhibition and a packed programme across two rooms, there was much to take in! Posters were all normal poster size but all electronic and also available online through the event app. Richard presented a poster on his work ‘can the ageing scalp dermal fibroblast inflammatory phenotype be reversed?’

Gill spent some of her time at the Cosmetics Cluster UK exhibitor stand meeting other companies and delegates and had the chance to catch up with many colleagues, including Des Tobin (one of the speakers). Julie also met up with Giorgio Dell'Acqua from Nutrafol (now part of Unilever) amongst other international colleagues.

Highlights in terms of the science presented by various speakers and companies included:

· A tour de force talk from Prof (Baroness) Susan Greenfield who talked about the skin : brain connection – of interest was the potential to use skin biomarkers (peptide T14) to measure progression of dementia – both Unilever and Beiersdorf are working with Susan to develop the biomarker assays and also novel therapeutics.

· New microfluidic technology presented by NETRI and BASF was very interesting. They have developed a neuronal/keratinocyte ‘on a chip’ model and Gill’s conversations with the NETRI rep suggested it may have relevance for keratinocyte melanocyte interactions. The device is about the size of a stamp and has separate chambers for the keratinocytes and neuronal cells with very thin tubes connecting. The whole chip can be viewed under the microscope!

· Microbiome changes with balding in Korean subjects was presented by Kolmar. They are also linking AGA to Gut microbiome (in press). The links between scalp microbiome and hair loss is an emerging area of research. There are many factors that can influence the scalp microbiome, not least the hair density! They showed balding was associated with increased microbial diversity which is somewhat different from other poor skin conditions that are characterised by reduced diversity. Pierre Fabre also presented work on scalp microbiome, this time looking at changes with scalp oiliness and dryness/dandruff. The question of cause and effect remains unanswered in relation to microbiome changes with skin or hair condition. Something the SMiHA network is very keen to understand better.

· MicroRNA therapeutics are making their way into skin care. Biocogent have developed a delivery vehicle for ‘epigenetic driven skincare’ with data presented in cells and skin equivalents.

· The power of fibroblasts is getting a lot of attention in skin ageing research – with nutraceuticals based on marine collagen being popular new products. The 'fibroblast regenerating complex' was proposed by Silab with the hypothesis that fibroblasts orchestrate both dermal and epidermal skin regeneration. Age-dependent changes in the fibroblast secretome was measured and, interestingly, they also looked at the effects of the conditioned medium from fibroblasts on endothelial cells, demonstrating that fibroblasts can control vascular regeneration; vascular networks in skin are compromised with age.


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