That's because the collagen surgeons use is protein derived from either cow or human cadaver collagen. While the risk may be low, the potential nevertheless exists that patients could develop allergies, or even disease, from the cosmetic injections.
But that risk may soon be eliminated entirely, thanks to new research by a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station scientist who has developed a method of producing collagen and other health-related proteins from plants instead of human or animal sources.
The process has proved so promising, Texas A&M University and proCANE LLC, a subsidiary of ECOR Corp. of Sedona, Ariz., have partnered to continue the research and market the high-value, plant-derived proteins.
"We currently have seven patents, either issued or pending, for the process I've developed to use sugarcane as a drug factory to produce proteins, not just for cosmetic uses but for use in treating a wide variety of human diseases," said Dr. Erik Mirkov, a virologist and molecular biologist at the Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Texas A&M officials recently signed a license agreement with ECOR whereby ECOR acquires exclusive rights to commercialize the Texas A&M patents in the field of bioprocessing. ECOR's subsidiary, proCANE LLC, will produce and market the new sugarcane-derived, high-value proteins.
ECOR's president and CEO, Michael A. Zito, said, "ECOR is focused on becoming a major player in the commercialization and delivery of proteins that help lengthen people's lives. By working with strategic partners like Texas A&M University, we feel a sense of pride in helping promote improvements in human health and healthcare."
Contact: Rod Santa Ana
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications