Longevity Link Corporation
Longevity Link Corporation was founded in 2004 to develop novel optical methods for the detection of diet-derived tissue nutrients considered important for personal health. Specifically, we focused on reflection- and fluorescence based methods for the detection of micronutrients in skin and in the retina and developed portable instrumentation for use in clinical and field settings. Our company facilities are located in the University of Utah Research Park, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Our current efforts expand on the optical detection possibilities for tissue micronutrients, with focus on more widespread applications in the fields of general nutrition, public health, nutrition science, and medicine. We also offer expertise for the noninvasive detection of other bio-medically important tissue compounds potentially detectable and quantifiable with optical technologies. We are a privately held company; our product development is funded from private contracts and product sales.
Detection of skin carotenoids based on reflection spectroscopy – the VEGGIE METER®
Skin carotenoids serve as an index of fruit and vegetable (F/V) intake and integrative biomarker associated with better health. Using our patented reflection spectroscopy method (US patent # 8,260,402 and multiple international patents) in the design of the VEGGIE METER®, we can quickly measure the level of carotenoids present in a subject’s skin in a non-invasive objective fashion. As a convenient tissue location we use the palm of the hand or a fingertip. Large subject populations can be screened rapidly, and carotenoid level changes can be tracked over time in response to dietary interventions. Carotenoids have a characteristic absorption band in the blue wavelength region of the visible light spectrum. Their absorption strength in the skin scales directly with their concentration. The VEGGIE METER® is invaluable for population studies investigating F/V consumption as well as for studies investigating potential correlations of F/V intake with health and disease outcomes.
Detection of flavonoids based on fluorescence spectroscopy
Flavonoids are another important family of plant-derived micro-nutrients taken up with the diet. Like carotenoids they are thought to have antioxidant functionality in human tissues. While carotenoids are fat soluble, flavonoids are water soluble. Epidemiological studies show consistently that the consumption of flavonoid-rich food lowers the risk of cancers anywhere from 30 to 75 percent. We are developing a non-invasive optical detection approach for the presence of flavonoids in skin based on our patented fluorescence method (US patent # 9,814,417 and multiple international patents) and are currently investigating the tissue uptake kinetics of these compounds as well as a potential integration of the flavonoid detection capability into the VEGGIE METER® .
Detection of carotenoids in the human retina—macular pigment imaging
The carotenoid species lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin are located in high concentrations in the center of the human retina, the macula. This area concentrates the color sensitive photoreceptor cells and is responsible for high acuity color vision. The three carotenoids, known as macular pigment, are thought to help prevent the onset of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. The macular pigment concentration can be increased with lutein and zeaxanthin-containing vegetables or with lutein and zeaxanthin containing supplement formulations. We are currently developing our patented fluorescence imaging method (US patent # 8,326,405) as an early-age screening test for the levels and spatial distributions of the macular pigment.
Previous Technology Commercialization Experience
In 1999, Werner Gellermann, together with colleagues from the University of Utah and private investors, founded Nutriscan, Inc. and Caroderm, Inc. for the purpose of commercializing laser spectroscopy methods for the non-invasive optical detection of carotenoid antioxidants in skin. Specifically, the companies developed laser based Resonance Raman spectroscopy for use in the nutritional supplement and medical fields. In 2002 and 2004,respectively, the companies were acquired by NuSkin/Pharmanex, a global nutritional supplement company. In collaboration with NuSkin/Pharmanex, our team developed a portable commercial skin scanning instrument (“Biophotonic Scanner”) for exclusive use in their dietary supplement market. Initially based on solid state laser technology, the Raman method made it possible, for the first time, to prove the efficacy of antioxidant-containing multivitamin supplements with an objective test. To date more than 10,000 Raman scanners have been placed with distributors in NuSkin’s market.
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