“New” wrinkle treatment approved – the return of Isolagen

A few years ago, there was an FDA-approved injectable filler product called Isolagen. The company, however, couldn’t get their financing together, and went bankrupt in 2009. But now, rising from the ashes, the product is back, under a new name, laViv. The product just received FDA approval last week. But, to my review, it’s basically Isolagen with new packaging!

Here’s how it works: think of it as a personalized wrinkle filler. You take a small biopsy of skin, from behind the ear, where there isn’t much sun damage. Then, send that off to a specialized lab, where the fibroblast cells are isolated and grown in cell culture for 3-6 months. Then, you can have some of those fibroblasts – your own cells – injected into wrinkled areas, where they go on to manufacture collagen and fix the wrinkle, in what will hopefully be a semi-permanent way. The rest of the cells are kept for your future use, so you don’t need a repeat biopsy.

The wrinkle-fighter been shown to work in randomized clinical studies…but not necessarily better than other FDA -approved fillers. Those comparison studies have not yet been done. And since these are your own cells, the results look very natural, and the treatment is well tolerated, other than the risks of the injection, like bruising and swelling.

The manufacturer, FibroCell Science, has not announced a price, but a spokeswoman said it was expected to be $1,000 to $2,000 to create the personalized cell bank, and then perhaps $300 to $500 for each of the three treatment sessions.

So, the big question: will people pay the difference for customized cell therapy, or stick with Juvederm and Restylane, which are considerably less money, but require ongoing upkeep?

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