Life Extension Magazine January 2003
Skin Care Pioneer
Few people remember Benjamin S. Frank, M.D., the articulate physician who made numerous television appearances in the 1970s extolling the virtues of dietary supplements.
Dr. Frank's controversial books introduced much of what is now accepted about the role of nutrition in preventing disease. Dr. Frank was prescribing high-potency supplements to his patients more than 30 years ago. These same supplements are routinely used by tens of millions of Americans today to protect against degenerative disease. When looking at current clinical findings about nutrition and health, one can easily see how far ahead of his time Benjamin Frank was.
Dr. Frank proposed that aging was partially a result of decreased energy production in the cell's mitochondria. He felt that in the presence of reduced mitochondrial function, cells become defective and lack the energy needed to effectively repair DNA. Scientific studies published as recently as this year validate Dr. Frank's theory about cell energy depletion and aging.
One of Dr. Frank's most famous hypothesis was that the topical application of RNA improved cell energy metabolism and therefore the health and appearance of the skin.
A lot has been discovered about skin aging since Dr. Frank began experimenting with RNA-based face creams at his New York City medical office. This article describes the latest version of Dr. Frank's ever evolving RNA-based skin cream.
Scientific studies demonstrate that it is now possible to apply topical preparations to one's skin and achieve noticeable anti-aging effects. The cosmetic industry has been racing to develop therapeutic skin care treatments that can clinically demonstrate results. Today's savvy consumers demand products with enhanced efficacy that will live up to their expectations.
In response, cosmetic companies have increased the percentages of active ingredients with the goal of replicating the anti-aging effects revealed in the newly published studies. The problem of increasing the level of active ingredients is that the wrong layers of the skin can be overly saturated resulting in irritation and reduced efficacy.
The first step in resolving this problem is to encase the active ingredients so that they can be absorbed through the top layer into the lower layers of the skin where they are most active. The second obstacle to overcome is designing a delayed release system so that the active ingredients can be released over an extended amount of time. After all, most people are only going to apply a face cream once a day. Skin cells, on the other hand, require the continuous presence of active ingredients to optimally protect against ultraviolet and environmentally induced damage.
"Liposome" technology was developed many years ago to facilitate delivery of active ingredients past the top layer of the skin. The consistency of liposome delivery through the skin has been limited by a number of technical factors.
An enhanced process of liposome delivery was developed two years ago and has been awarded worldwide patents. This technology delivers active ingredients to the specific layers of the skin, increasing the concentration of those actives in the dermis, and then providing a prolonged time-release action throughout the entire day.
Until recently, this delivery system was available only to the pharmaceutical industry. This technology of delivering active ingredients to targeted areas of the skin is called QuSome®, and is now available in skin care products.
The opportunity is thus created to deliver proven anti-aging ingredients to the layers of the skin where they are most needed to guard against ultraviolet radiation, environment toxins, and the normal processes of skin senescence.
Controlled delivery of RNA into the skin
In the 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Frank did not have access to conventional liposome, let alone the enhanced QuSome® technology that enables precise delivery of active ingredients to the lower layers of the skin. Despite the lack of controlled delivery, Dr. Frank's highly concentrated RNA cream showed significant efficacy in improving many of the noticeable effects of skin aging.
Dr. Frank's molecular hypothesis for the efficacy of RNA was its ability to increase cellular energy levels so as to facilitate the movement of young cells to the surface where they could replace unsightly senescent cells. Dr. Frank also believed that the metabolic deficiencies characteristic of aging skin cells precluded them from performing youthful repair functions. The nucleic acid RNA, he postulated, seemed to restore this repair mechanism.
Despite being limited by a primitive delivery system, Dr. Frank's RNA cream demonstrated pronounced anti-aging effects in his patients. A double-blind clinical trial in 1970 of Dr. Frank's RNA cream showed that it caused a visible lifting and tightening of the skin, with wrinkles appearing to be less visible in just three-weeks. Despite these impressive early findings, RNA was largely ignored, perhaps because there was not a significant commercial market for "anti-aging" creams in that era.
With today's QuSomes® delivery technology, RNA and other active ingredients can be precisely delivered to the lower layers of skin to continuously promote critical cellular metabolic processes.
Benjamin Frank's Ill-fated death
Benjamin Frank suffered from a particularly lethal form of juvenile (Type I) diabetes. He was born with the disorder and spent his entire life fighting off multiple diabetic complications. During his medical school years, Dr. Frank developed neuropathy to the extent that it interfered with this ability to walk. He also developed kidney impairment in his early 20s. Juvenile diabetics with this type of severe disease were not expected to live past age 30. Yet at the age of 58, Dr. Frank was in relatively good health.
He knew, however, that his diabetic condition would prematurely end his life by occluding his arterial system. Dr. Frank took a chance that aggressive intravenous chelation therapy offered in the Bahamas might extend his productive life span. His associate, Carmen Fusco, begged him not to undergo this therapy because he already suffered impaired kidney function (a common diabetic complication).
Despite these concerns, Dr. Frank made a fateful trip to The Bahamas for aggressive intravenous chelation therapy. As a result of his pre-existing kidney impairment, the mineral overload induced by the chelation therapy caused kidney failure. There were no dialysis facilities in the Bahamas available to prevent him from falling into a state of acute uremic poisoning. Dr. Frank was put on to an air ambulance to receive emergency dialysis in Miami, but he died on Dec. 14, 1979 in mid-air flight from the effects of acute kidney shutdown.
Had Dr. Frank been able to access chelation therapy in the United States, dialysis would probably have saved him long enough for his kidney function to return.
It is known today that those with impaired kidney function should not undergo chelation therapy, but chelation was in its infancy stages back then, and the appropriate precautions were not fully understood.