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P&G Pioneering The ‘Omics’ Revolution To Solve Molecular Puzzles In Beauty And Grooming

May 25, 2011

Cutting-edge ‘Omics’ tools transform skin and hair biology to illuminate new pathways to advanced beauty and grooming innovation

Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) today unveiled its pioneering efforts in the breakthrough field of ‘Omics’ that is set to solve the molecular puzzles of beauty and leapfrog innovations in this space. Twenty-one years after the start of the Human Genome Project in 1990, the science of genomics has come of age and led to a new era of ‘Omics’-based research. This approach brings together genomics, proteomics and metabolomics to map the entire biological system, illuminating new pathways to better skin and hair science for years to come.

The New Science of ‘Omics’

While genomics has dominated the beauty and grooming discussion in recent years, new advances in genome sequencing and other ‘Omics’ tools are enabling biologists to shift their attention from studying individual parts within a particular biological system to ‘mapping’ the entire system. From the genome to the proteome to the metabolome ““ together representing the total approach of ‘systems’ biology.

Our complex human biology means there are more than 20,000 genes, as many as a million proteins and thousands of metabolites underlying our fundamental skin and hair processes – now, for the first time, scientists have the ‘Omics’ tools to piece this puzzle together. Where once scientists could only measure one gene or protein at a time, the latest ‘Omics’ tools now allow us to monitor 9.4 million gene changes and hundreds of protein expression changes or metabolites in a single experiment with tools like:

    * Genomics the study of gene activity or ‘expression’ and describes how genes function, interact with one another and respond to environmental stimuli;
    * Proteomics which studies proteins and the way they change as a result of gene activity;
    * Metabolomics which studies how changes in genes and proteins impact biochemical processes within the cell.

But the secret to dramatically accelerating data and insights in skin and hair biology lies in bringing these tools and techniques together. This allows scientists to open up insights into the molecular pathways associated with common concerns in skin and hair biology, and ultimately create innovative new products that better address the needs of men and women.

“The ‘Omics’ revolution significantly changes the way we analyze, think about and experience beauty and grooming. It changes the rules of the game and gives us an unrivalled insight into the complete map of our biological processes, opening up possibilities that will help us solve the molecular puzzles of beauty and grooming science,” said Dr Jay Tiesman, Principal Scientist, Global Biotechnology Division, P&G.

Joining Dr Tiesman are other leading scientists on the team including Dr Rosemarie Osborne, Dr John Oblong and Dr Ray Grant, who have been the pioneers behind the ‘Omics’ revolution at P&G for over 10 years. They have been at the helm of the evolution of ‘Omics’ science at P&G and now, 45 peer-reviewed articles, 90 presentations and over 30,000 gene chips later, the new science of ‘Omics’ is leading a revolution in beauty and grooming.

Pioneering the application of ‘Omics’ to Leapfrog Beauty & Grooming Innovations at P&G

P&G Beauty & Grooming is going beyond traditional beauty industry approaches – with a new systems biology approach applied to the complex ‘systems’ of beauty. Using this novel application of ‘Omics’ tools to drive an advanced and holistic understanding of beauty and grooming needs for consumers around the world: men and women, and head to toe ““ face, body, hair and scalp.

Much of this effort is driven by bringing together the extensive scientific expertise at P&G that parallel top research institutions globally, and P&G’s progressive stance towards collaboration. A key highlight is P&G’s recent partnership with the Institute for Systems Biology to bring deeper insights into skin biology, targeting ageing issues as one of its key focus areas. The goal is to develop models of the global molecular changes that occur in skin under different conditions.

Beyond collaborations with external institutions, P&G has combined ‘Omics’ with advanced human skin cell models to identify solutions to help older skin appear more like younger skin. It has also given us new evidence on the significant differences between male and female skin in the area of UV sensitivity, helping us to sharpen our approach to new regimens for male skin. We are now leveraging proteomic studies to further the understanding of the impact of dandruff and the effect of anti-dandruff actives ““ a critical step in scalp care given that dandruff affects half of the world’s population. ‘Omics’ tools are also reshaping the area of hair science as P&G scientists are able to evaluate and fingerprint hair damage at the molecular level, pointing us to new breakthroughs and formulations in hair care.

While the application of ‘Omics’ science has just begun, the far-reaching impact of its application across beauty and grooming is already informing P&G’s research and taking the company’s innovations across the category in new and different directions.

” ‘Omics’ science is already helping us resolve some of the most complex and intriguing puzzles that still exist in beauty and grooming. Each puzzle we solve is not only expanding what we know but opening up new and intriguing future possibilities ““ not only for us as research scientists but also for the skin and hair products we all use everyday” said Dr Jim Thompson, Associate Director, Biotechnology and Systems Biology, P&G beauty.

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