Nanotech delivery system activates natural defense for damaged, diseased skin

The effect of stressors on skin as a result of free radicals--Courtesy of Maya Ben-Yehuda Greenwald

Scientists in Jerusalem have created a nanotech-based delivery system that can combat oxidative stress--caused by free radicals--in the skin using the body's own defense system. The existence of free radicals can lead to skin conditions such as inflammatory diseases, pigmentation disorders, wrinkles and some types of skin cancer.

The researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have employed the Nrf2 cellular-protective signaling pathway present in human cells to cope with stress conditions. The team loaded compounds capable of activating this pathway into nano-sized droplets of microemulsion liquids, according to a university release.

The method, developed by Maya Ben-Yehuda Greenwald, coordinates a cellular response to both internal and external stressors by amping up the cells' ability to create the Nrf2 enzymes that attack the damage-causing free radicals.

"The approach of using the body's own defense system is very effective," Ben-Yehuda Greenwald said in a statement. "We showed that activation of the body's defense system with the aid of a unique delivery system is feasible, and may leverage dermal care. Currently, there are many scientific studies supporting the activation of the body's defense mechanisms. However, none of these studies has demonstrated the use of a nanotechnology-based delivery system to do so."

- here's the release