Peptide aimed at stem cell genesis debuts on supplement market

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Peptide aimed at stem cell genesis debuts on supplement market
A longtime product developer is bringing a peptide ingredient to the US market that has been researched for a unique property — promoting the growth of bone marrow stem cells.

Called DH Stemogen, the product is the brainchild of Dr Marvin Heuer MD who has a history of product development with sports nutrition company MuscleTech.  Dr. Heuer has a background in clinical research, having spent many years in drug development at Glaxo Smith Kline.  He also runs a contract research firm, Heuer M.D. Research Inc. and is the CEO of omega-3 supplement manufacturer Blue Ocean Nutrascience.

The new product, called DH Stemogen is based on a Cyclo-{L-ALA-L-GLU(TRP-OH) peptide that was developed by a Russian biochemist.

Its a peptide that is a mimic of a naturally occurring thymic peptide,” ​Dr. Heuer told NutraIngredients-USA. Heuer was promoting the launch of the product at the recent Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA. At Heuer M.D. Research, as a company we are out looking for novel ingredients to bring out, hopefully in the nutraceutical area.

We got interested in Prof. Vlad Deigins peptide research,​ Dr. Heuer said (Deigin is associated with the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.) We looked at this particular compound that he was launching as an ingredient in Russia about a year ago.

Hematopoietic stem cells

The peptide in DH Stemogen targets a particular type of stem cell – hematopoietic cells (HSC). Stem cells in general are the building blocks of our bodies. These cells are able to transform themselves into almost any type of cell. There are various sources of stem cells in an adult body. One of the most important of them comprises the bone marrow, where the HSCs are produced. HSCs transform into all the main cell types in our blood, including red blood cells and white blood cells.  Dr. Heuer said there is some evidence that those cells are able to reconstruct other body tissues by transforming into the specific tissue type cell such as liver, nervous tissue, kidney and skin.

These properties would seem to make Stemogen a natural for a healthy aging product positioning, Dr. Heuer said.  But Deigin’s research, trending as it does over into disease endpoints, is a little problematical when it comes to supporting US-style structure function claims, he admitted. Other countries don’t make the same hard and fast distinctions between dietary ingredients meant for supplement applications and active pharmaceutical agents meant for drugs, he said.

We are going to be very cautious about making structure/function claims,” ​Dr. Heuer said.  The product at the moment saysSupport your immune system​ and “Support healthy levels of stem cells in your blood. 

We are about to begin a whole profile of research in the U.S. and Canada,​he added.

Dr. Heuer said one thing that’s unique about the ingredient (and something that he says Deigin has patented) is a structural twist that improves the peptides stability.  The criticism of some other novel peptides has been that interesting as their properties might be, once they hit the stomach’s gastric fluid they blow apart into their constituent amino groups and all those novel properties are lost.

He has a patent on the way he makes this with a hex ring on the end that protects it in the GI tract and allows it to be absorbed,” ​he said.

Regulatory thicket

Bringing a synthetic analogue of a naturally occurring peptide to market as a dietary ingredient would seem to pose significant regulatory challenges.  Dr. Heuer said he’s confident there is a way through that thicket.  The plan is to start first with a GRAS filing, and Dr. Heuer said he believes that the peptide would fall under the amino acid category in the DHSEA definitions of what constitutes a dietary ingredient.

Certainly there is a precedent of complex peptides being sold on the market,​ he said.

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