Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Identification of Compounds that Treat and Prevent Skin Aging

Technology #3402

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John J. Voorhees
Managed By
Janani Ramaswamy
Licensing Specialist, Medical Deviceses 734-763-9081
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending


The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and is directly and continuously exposed to the environment. Acute exposure to the sun, due to UV radiation, can cause various types of damage to the skin. Approximately one million people in the United States develop skin cancer each year. Activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in human skin, by oxidative stress from UV irradiation or other sources (e.g. smoking), is a critical mediator of responses that damage human skin and eventuate in accelerated skin aging. Therefore, a compound that directly or indirectly inhibits the activation of the EGFR might be a potential therapeutic agent that treats and/or prevents skin aging.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered that activation of the EGFR by reactive oxygen species results from oxidative inhibition of receptor type protein tyrosine phosphatases kappa (RPTP-kappa). Therefore, compounds that prevent/reduce oxidation of RPTP-kappa will impede and treat skin aging. Researchers have also established a test to identify compounds that prevent/reduce oxidation of RPTP-kappa. Compounds identified using this technology could be incorporated into topical or oral preparations with the purposes of improving the appearance of human skin.

Applications and Advantages


  • Screening for new drugs to prevent or/and-nl-treat skin aging.
  • A new therapeutic target for skin aging.


  • Ability to test for preventative compounds