Studying our natural internal bacteria could help doctors cure diseases that affect millions
By Virginia HughesPosted 03.07.2011 at 11:00 am 7 Comments
When Jake Harvey visits the clinical center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, he is usually dirty, itchy and wheezing—not the happiest state of affairs for a 14-year-old boy. But his doctors require that for 24 hours prior to each visit, he refrain from bathing, or using the inhaler that soothes his asthma, or applying the ointment that softens his eczema. In order to study his illness, they need him to be in as close to his natural state as possible.
It sounds like just another uber-meltable cheese product, but Vavelta is actually miles away from anything you'd want to put in your mouth. It's a radical new treatment for facial pitting, scarring, and wrinkles made out of—what else?—newborns' foreskins. Foreskins have long been treasured by cosmetic dermatologists because they are rich in fibroblasts, tiny cells that play a crucial role in healing wounds and generating collagen and connective tissue.