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Aug
15
2007

National Products Foundation Launches New Regulatory Initiatives

New initiatives by this organization help ensure the credibility of natural products for the consumer.

Aug
14
2007

CTFA Applauds Increased Funding for FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors

The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, late yesterday, approved a $2 million increase for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Cosmetics and Colors. Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) President and CEO Pamela Bailey issued the following statement praising the committee’s efforts for an increase that will enhance the office’s capacity for enforcement, oversight and development of global safety standards for personal care products.

"We are pleased that the House Committee on Appropriations voted to increase FDA funding for consumer protection. Our products literally touch nearly every American every day. Through strong regulatory oversight, made possible by this $2 million increase, consumer confidence in the safety of their products will remain high.

"Consumer safety is the number one priority of the more than 1,000 cosmetic and personal care product companies. Over the years, cosmetic and personal care product companies have worked with FDA to establish a unique partnership in which companies go beyond the requirements of the law to provide additional safety and technical resources and information.

"Our strong partnership with FDA has been put at risk because the Office of Cosmetics and Colors has shrunk to an insufficient level. This increase will enhance consumer protections and provide the cosmetics office with much needed inspectors and compliance officers.

"Consumers depend on safe products that are available and consistently regulated across the globe. While FDA has long been the gold standard in cosmetics regulation in the U.S., without adequate funding the FDA may not have the resources to participate in meetings with regulatory officials around the world. This funding increase will allow critical FDA participation in international discussions to develop the best and most encompassing global protections and regulations for consumers everywhere."

Aug
01
2007

New Ingredients for Reversing Tone Imperfection

Staying on top of the newest developments in the field and introducing them to your clients allows you to continually re-establish yourself as their personal skincare expert.  With that in mind, you should know that anti-aging isn’t just about wrinkles anymore. Many scientists and dermatologists are confirming that the tone of a person’s skin is among the main identifiers in determining their age—the more even skin tone is, the younger a person looks.

Progress in anti-aging skin care has moved one step further due to the development of a breakthrough topical glucosamine complex. It treats uneven skin tone by targeting skin cells that overproduce melanin. Formerly used in arthritis treatments, topical glucosamine has been found to reduce age spots and improve skin barriers.

While many products already on the market can improve tone imperfections, they have had a tendency to contain ingredients, such as hydroquinone, that can be harsh and irritating to the skin.  This is among the first combinations to perfect skin tone while also improving the overall health of the skin.

P&G Beauty

Jul
31
2007

Rosacea Continues to Baffle

The National Rosacea Society recently released a study highlighting results that dispell the common myth that rosacea typically affects adults age 30–50. The study also found the skin disorder may develop new signs and symptoms decades after its initial onset. 888-662-5874

Jul
31
2007

Exercise Plus Coffee May Ward Off Skin Cancer

A coffee habit, coupled with regular exercise, may help prevent skin cancers better than either factor alone, new research suggests.

The study was done only with animals, however, and it's not a reason to abandon standard sun-protection habits.

"You should not give up the sunblock," said Dr. Allan H. Conney, senior author of the study, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings aren't entirely new. "In earlier studies, we found caffeine and exercise -- either one by themselves -- inhibited ultraviolet light-induced skin cancer in mice," said Conney, the director of the Laboratory for Cancer Research at the School of Pharmacy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

But the new research shows that "the combination [of the two] works better," he said, providing a dramatically better anti-cancer result.

Both caffeine and exercise seem to help kill the UVB-damaged cells before malignancy sets in. "We really don't know how that happens," Conney said.

In the study, his team looked at four groups of hairless mice. The rodents' exposed skin is very vulnerable to the sun.

One group was given caffeinated water to drink each day, the equivalent of a person drinking a couple of cups of coffee a day, Conney said. Another group ran voluntarily on a running wheel, the equivalent of a person running two or two and a half miles every day, he said. (These mice will happily go on an exercise wheel if one is available, Conney said.) A third group had both the caffeine and the exercise, while a fourth group had neither and served as the control group.

The mice in all four groups were exposed to lamps that generated UVB radiation that damaged the skin cells' DNA.

While some degree of healthy, programmed skin cell death ("apoptosis") was seen in all four groups of mice, the caffeine drinkers and exercisers were best at killing off the damaged cells, the researchers found.

To find out how different the four groups were in terms of killing off damaged skin cells, the researchers looked at physical changes in those cells. They also looked at chemical markers, such as enzymes, involved in killing damaged cells.

The differences were dramatic. The caffeine drinkers showed a 96 percent increase in damaged cell death compared to the control group and the exercisers showed a 120 percent increase. Even more significant, the mice that drank caffeine and ran on the training wheel had a nearly 400 percent increase in cell death of damaged cells.

Whether this combination would work in people is not known, Conney said, although some research has found that caffeine and exercise does reduce certain cancer risks. He said he would like to do a clinical study in humans next.

More than a million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed in the United States annually, according to the American Cancer Society. About 62,190 cases of melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer type, will be diagnosed this year.

A spokesman for the Skin Cancer Foundation urged caution in interpreting the study findings, however. "It will take years of extensive testing to determine whether this will be a worthwhile concept before you can say anything specific about it," said Dr. Michael Gold, founder of the Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, Tenn.

"Mice and humans are very different. That said, we do know that caffeine applied topically has been popular as a 'cosmeceutical' anti-aging ingredient and might be useful in helping prevent non-melanoma skin cancers," Gold said. "The concept of systemic caffeine needs to be addressed further. We also know that moderate exercise is an immune moderator and can help ward off cancers and other diseases."

He echoed standard advice to wear sunscreen when out in the sun. "If you are exercising outside you must wear sunscreen no matter what," Gold said. "If you don't protect yourself from the sun while exercising outdoors you are increasing your risk of getting non-melanoma skin cancers and melanoma. Protecting yourself from the sun is currently the only proven way to prevent skin cancer."

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay News, July 30, 2007

Jul
25
2007

Natural Protein Protects Against Skin Cancer

Researchers have identified a protein that plays a key role in preventing skin cancer cells from dividing and multiplying.

Writing in the July 20 issue of Molecular Cell, a team at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, reported that the protein IKKa prevented a vital "checkpoint" gene from shutting down and allowing cancer cells to spread.

The protein often is absent or only found at lower levels in a type of skin cancer cell.

IKKa is found at lower than normal levels in aggressive squamous cell carcinomas in both mice and humans. When operating normally, it allows the checkpoint gene 14-3-3o to respond to DNA damage in the cell. The gene usually creates a protein that blocks defective cells from dividing, allowing genetic errors to be repaired rather than copied.

Without IKKa proteins, the gene does not function optimally, and cells that multiply with damaged or abnormal genes are the root of cancer.

The interaction is part of the process of DNA methylation -- a process by which the work of a gene is chemically altered, but the gene itself is not damaged. Researchers look for ways to chemically turn the gene back on and restore its function.

The team inserted IKKa into deficient cells, which allowed the checkpoint gene to work again.

"What we've identified is a mechanism that promotes genetic instability in keratinocytes, a critical type of skin cell that makes up 90 percent of epidermal cells, during the development of human skin cancers," Yinling Hu, senior author of the paper and assistant professor in M.D. Anderson's department of carcinogenesis at the Science Park-Research Division in Smithville, Texas, said in a prepared statement. "Our finding opens a new avenue for identifying new therapeutic targets for battling cancer," Hu said.

The findings may have implications for a broad array of cancers, as the researchers noted that the checkpoint gene 14-3-3o is also shut dow n in cancerous epithelial cells. Epithelial cells are found in the outer layer of skin and in the linings of other body organs such as lungs, and the gastrointestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts.

HealthDay News, July 24, 2007

Jul
24
2007

Program to Verify Purity of Chinese Raw Materials

Natural Products Association launches testing program aimed at Increasing safety, quality and consumer confidence.

Jul
23
2007

Scientists Makes Strides Against Melanoma

Melanoma remains a stubborn foe, with doctors reporting limited success in preventing the sometimes fatal skin cancer and even less success developing a cure.

"We'd like to reduce that death rate, but that's not happening," said Dr. Martin A. Weinstock, chairman of the American Cancer Society's Skin Cancer Advisory Committee. "We're not being effective in preventing melanoma. We've been making progress in early detection but not as much as we would like. And therapy for melanomas not detected early is basically poor."

But several advances announced in the last year -- from testing "sentinel" lymph nodes as a way to jump-start aggressive treatment, to new gene therapies that may one day beat back the cancer -- have given doctors a cautious sense of optimism.

Still, the experts add that these treatments need more testing, and prevention remains the best way to avoid the disease. So, the message remains the same -- protect yourself from the sun, and keep an eye on unusual skin growths.

"There are a lot of therapies that are promising," said Weinstock, professor of dermatology and community health at Brown University and chief of dermatology at the VA Medical Center in Providence, R.I. "But they're all possibilities. We just don't know if they're going to pan out yet."

Skin cancers in general are extremely survivable. The U.S. National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 1 million new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed in 2007, claiming fewer than 2,000 lives.

Melanoma is another matter. It's rarer than basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, with about 59,900 new cases expected to strike Americans this year. But it will kill an estimated 8,110 people, according to the cancer institute.

Melanoma remains frustratingly hard to prevent and cure, Weinstock said.

It begins in skin cells called melanocytes that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its natural color. Skin exposed to the sun causes melanocytes to produce more pigment, creating a sun tan. Sometimes, clusters of melanocytes and surrounding tissues form moles on the skin.

Melanoma occurs when those pigment cells become malignant. The first sign of trouble often is a change in the size, shape, color or feel of an existing mole, with most melanomas displaying a black or blue-black area. Melanoma also can appear as a new mole that is black or looks abnormal or ugly, according to the cancer institute.

If undetected or left untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs or brain. The first sign that melanoma has spread, or metastasized, usually is the appearance of cancer cells in the body's lymph nodes. Part of the body's defense system, the nodes produce lymph, which travels throughout the body and filters out impurities.

In the past, doctors fighting melanoma would remove many or all of the body's lymph nodes to help prevent the spread of the cancer. But the experimental sentinel node biopsy technique allows doctors to remove only a few lymph nodes directly affected by the melanoma.

In the procedure, a radioactive substance is injected near the melanoma and its progress through the body is tracked. The first lymph nodes to take up the substance are called the sentinel lymph nodes.

Since the cancer is most likely to head to those lymph nodes first, only those nodes are surgically removed for testing. If positive, the rest of the lymph nodes are tested and removed. But if negative, the patient avoids what can be a painful procedure.

Sentinel node biopsy has been around for about two decades, but new studies have shown that its use can give patients a better fighting chance against metastasized melanoma.

A 2006 study headed by Dr. Donald L. Morton, who helped create the technique, found that patients whose lymph nodes tested positive and then had the rest of their nodes removed enjoyed a much higher five-year survival rate, compared with people who tested positive but delayed removal of their lymph nodes.

"The risk of dying from melanoma was almost one-half reduced if you had the lymph nodes removed versus waiting for them to grow to a detectable size," said Morton, medical director and chief of the melanoma program at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center, in Santa Monica, Calif.

Other scientists have found that boosting the immune system's ability to recognize and destroy cancer cells shows promise in treating melanoma.

In a recent study, National Cancer Institute researchers treated 17 patients with advanced, metastatic melanoma with white blood cells called T-lymphocytes that had been genetically engineered to better recognize the skin cancer. The result: Two of the patients went into a sustained remission.

Doctors believe this shows that such gene therapy can work, but much more work and many refinements remain ahead.

Until these tactics are improved upon, Weinstock recommends that people use the American Cancer Society's recommended "Slip, Slop, Slap" strategy for fighting skin cancer.

"The one major avoidable cause of melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun," Weinstock said. "Slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen and slap on a hat."

HealthDay News, By Dennis Thompson, July 22, 2007

Jul
19
2007

The Ingredients of Skin Care Research

By Kimberly J. Heathman

Mixing in clinical trials, variables, replication and more, learn how to know when ingredient research has been properly cooked up.

Jul
18
2007

Skin Cancer Message May Mislead

The young woman in the American Cancer Society ad holds up a photo of a smiling woman. "My sister accidentally killed herself. She died of skin cancer," reads the headline.

The public-service announcement, financed by the sunscreen maker Neutrogena, is running in 15 women's magazines this summer. It warns readers that "left unchecked, skin cancer can be fatal," and urges them to "use sunscreen, cover up and watch for skin changes."

The woman in the picture is a model. And the ad's implicit message -- that those who die of skin cancer have themselves to blame -- has provoked a sharp response from some public-health doctors, who say the evidence simply does not support it. As the ad says, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. But most skin cancer is not life-threatening: It represents less than 2 percent of all cancer deaths, an estimated 10,850 people this year. Almost all of those deaths are from melanoma, which makes up only 6 percent of all skin-cancer cases.

And the link between melanoma and sun exposure is not straightforward. Dr. Marianne Berwick, an epidemiologist at the University of New Mexico who studies skin cancer, led a study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2005 finding that people who had a lot of sun exposure up to the time they got a diagnosis of melanoma actually had better survival rates than those who had little sun exposure. The researchers are conducting a large-scale follow-up aimed at clarifying the relationship between sun exposure and melanoma.

Until that is made clear, many doctors say, it is premature to suggest that people are endangering their lives by failing to use sunscreen.

"It's just not that simple," said Dr. Barry Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health.

"We do have some pretty good evidence that sunscreen will reduce your risk of the less lethal forms of skin cancer," Kramer added. "There's very little evidence that sunscreens protect you against melanoma, yet you often hear that as the dominant message."

Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, acknowledges that the advertisement is aggressive. "We have taken some license in taking that message and using it the way we've used it because that's the way to get the message to our target audience," he said.



The ad's creators settled on the approach with the help of focus groups, who told them: "To get the message through to me, you have to shock me and get my attention," he added.

"Our focus groups showed us that these young women as a group were oblivious to the risk and felt that skin cancer isn't a serious problem," Lichtenfeld said. "The issue is to try to prevent that sun exposure earlier in life so we reduce the risk for people later in life."

In an effort to spread awareness about sun safety, the cancer society has joined with Neutrogena, a division of Johnson & Johnson whose sunscreens carry the society's logo.

As part of the agreement, Neutrogena is paying for the public-service campaign, though its name is not mentioned in the advertisement.

The partnership benefited both parties, said Iris Grossman, director of communications for Johnson & Johnson. "We have the common goal of raising awareness," she said.

But this financial relationship raises red flags for some experts. "When people see an American Cancer Society public-service announcement, they expect it to reflect the best evidence," said Dr. Lisa Schwartz, co-director of the Outcomes Group at the Veterans Affairs hospital in White River Junction, Vt. "We don't want people who have a financial interest to be telling you the benefit of doing something."

Neutrogena did not influence the cancer society's message on skin cancer, Lichtenfeld said.

By Christie Aschwanden, New York Times News Service, July 17, 2007