Collagen + MS: How Collagen from Swine Tissue is Changing the World

MS patient using porcine collagen to treat symptoms

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, an essential ‘building block’ that holds our bodies together. Collagen is found in nearly all major tissues and organs in the body and is particularly important for its role in making up connective tissues such as skin, bones, muscles, and cartilage. 

Due to this, collagen is also the subject of significant medical research, including conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) – and collagen from swine tissue helps make it happen.

The pig’s anatomy is among the closest in the animal kingdom to those of humans, with an extremely high degree of compatibility. This includes porcine collagen. Most collagen health supplements on the market come from pig tissue, as well as much of the collagen used in medical research.

How is porcine collagen helping to heal humans? Let’s look at some current work being done.

I. Collagen and MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks the insulating myelin sheath which covers nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system. This process, called demyelination, leads to these nerve cells misfiring, degrading a person’s ability to control their own body. Over time, the neural damage may become severe, leading to conditions such as blindness, partial or total paralysis, or even death.

Currently, there is no cure for MS, so research into the condition is a high priority.

One promising candidate for MS treatment is collagen, including collagen taken from porcine tissues. Researchers have noted that the internal lesions created by MS often contain high amounts of collagen, suggesting it is being leeched from the myelin sheaths. So, hopes are that collagen may become a part of remyelination therapies, as described in this 2018 Enuro article, to slow down or reverse the course of MS. 

However, while there is anecdotal evidence of collagen being effective, published medical research so far has been limited and inconclusive. This is a fascinating field of research, and Animal Biotech Industries is proud to be part of it as a major supplier of porcine collagen.

II. Treating Corneal Defects

One critical area where collagen has been proven effective is in the treatment of corneal defects. As described in this MedicalXpress article, collagen has been used in ophthalmology since the 1990s, in a process called crosslinking. Crosslinking with collagen could repair corneas, but until this year, the actual method of action was not understood.

Newly published research from the NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute in Reutlingen has uncovered the truth. In studying the crosslinking effects, they refined a technique that starts by treating the cornea with riboflavin (vitamin B), followed by a course of UV-A radiation. This makes the collagen fibers within the cornea more receptive to binding with added collagen.  

In addition, according to the Reutlingen researchers, this method of collagen crosslinking offers “excellent biocompatibility, reduced tissue inflammation, and promotion of tissue regeneration,” while minimizing risks associated with prior methods of crosslinking. 

Further, their results apply to more than just corneas. They may have opened the door to numerous new collagen-based therapies with their research – and porcine collagen will be a big part of it!

doctor analyzing brain scan of patient treating MS symptoms with collagen

III. Skin Treatment and Regeneration

Collagen is a significant part of human skin, and loss of collagen is associated with a wide variety of skin conditions – particularly those that come from aging. The skin loses plumpness and tension as it ages, and alongside, the body begins to lose its ability to generate collagen. As such, collagen has become a popular research topic for skin conditions and is heavily promoted in cosmetic circles.

However, there is genuine research showing a link between consumable collagen supplements and improved skin condition. This 2021 review from the journal Polymers examines several potential medical uses for collagen supplements, including skin care. It noted several published double-blind studies which all showed significant improvements in skin hydration and elasticity, compared to placebo groups, based on only oral consumption of collagen products. 

This significantly boosts the credibility of those claiming collagen is an effective beauty aid while pointing towards the potential of collagen to treat more serious degenerative skin conditions as well.

IV. Bone Regeneration

As collagen is a major component in bones, the direct application of collagen to damaged bones has been explored in depth. In the previously mentioned article, as well as the similar The Potential of Collagen Treatment for Comorbid Diseases, also from Polymers, summarize numerous studies into the efficacy of collagen for repairing bones that have been damaged due to conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Collagen scaffolds have become a common treatment for many bone conditions, providing structural support while encouraging natural regeneration. One challenge was the relative weakness of collagen scaffolds when holding bones together. However, new research and scaffolding techniques, along with umbilical stem cells, provide very promising results for bone regeneration.

Collagen is even being used in the treatment of alveolar clefts in children as an alternative to bone grafts. We look forward to seeing further research in this field, as children’s medical issues can be particularly challenging to resolve.

The Future of Medicine with Animal Biotech Industries

ABI is one of the nation’s leading suppliers of post-mortem porcine tissues, fluids, skin, and organs. Our focus is on the precise harvesting of materials to order, packaged, and shipped with the best methods to ensure proper delivery. By working exclusively with ethically sourced post-mortem swine, we offer a valuable alternative to live animal research.

Our experts can work with you to harvest the exact materials you need, as well as leverage their expertise to suggest the best materials for your research. We can handle orders of virtually any size, and satisfaction is guaranteed. Explore our catalog, or contact us directly if you have any questions.