Cosmetic science faces the future

Covering biology, chemistry and physics, with a smattering of psychology, the report asks the industry to explore the realms of possibility in cosmetics

In both life sciences and personal care markets, ageing has been the hottest of topics for the last century. The insights that cell biology provides are truly staggering in both their complexity and possible future therapies. We are, as a race, increasing our longevity at a staggering rate: five hours for every 24 hours we grace this planet. So living longer and ‘living younger’ is a reality, and this provides particular challenges and great opportunity for the cosmetics industry. Of course it’s bad news for the population explosion issue. But not all the world’s problems can be solved during one symposium.

The following selection of talks exemplify the quality of the symposium, although there was much more on offer at the actual event.

Biology

Dr Stephen Minger, Chief Scientist at GE Healthcare, gave a keynote speech titled ‘Innovating preclinical drug discovery and human cell therapy’. This was a foray through the work at GE Healthcare on stem cells and in particular the “immortals”: pluripotent stem cells. These cells can only be derived from embryos and continue replicating forever, providing they have the correct environment. There is some controversy and much moral debate on using embryos in research, but it is clear the rewards may well be staggering, with the eventual goal being personalised medicine where disease can be tackled, body parts regrown and ultimately all disease prevented.

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