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Human Epidermal Growth Factor (hEGF)


      Human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) is a 53 amino acid polypeptide (Figures 1 and 2) found in our duodenum and salivary glands. It is capable of stimulating cell proliferation and differentiation of various epidermal tissues, such as epidermis of skin, gastrointestinal tract and cornea.

Figure 1. The amino acid sequence of hEGF.

Figure 2. HPLC Profile of purified hEGF available from GVN

      EGF was first isolated from the submaxillary gland of mouse in 1960 by Stanley Cohen, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery and research on EGF in 1986. The first isolation of hEGF was from human urine in 1962.


      The healing processes enhanced by hEGF are well-documented in numerous applications. It acts as an active ingredient for promoting the repair of duodenal ulcer, hepatic injury and eye damage. It minimizes the effects of ureteral obstruction, assists the regeneration of nerve tissue and potentiates the effects of anti-cancer drugs.

Its effects have been extended in commercial sector. Cosmetic and skincare products supplemented with hEGF available from GVN (Figure 3 and 4) are able to regenerate the skin epidermis. It improves the texture and condition of the skin. Most importantly, it has passed safety tests, toxicity tests, allergy tests and no adverse effects have been reported.

Lane 1: Protein prestained markers;  Lane 2: Commercial hEGF (5ug);  Lane 3: hEGF purified in our lab (5ug)



1. Wong WKR, Ng KL, Hu XH (2018) Authentic human epidermal growth factor: a panacea for wound healing.  EC Endocrinology and Metabolic Research, 3(4), 138-146

2. Wong WKR, Ng KL, Lam CC, Hu XH, Lai CYN, Wang H, Sivakumar T (2017) Review Article: Reasons for Underrating the Potential of Human Epidermal Growth Factor in Medical Applications. Journal of Analytical and Pharmaceutical Research, 4(2), 00101

3. Wong WKR, Kwong KWY, Ng KL (2015) Application of Recombinant Human Epidermal Growth Factor to Effective Treatment of Scalds. Journal of Analytical & Pharmaceutical Research, 3(1)

4. Wong WKR (2015) Effective Treatment of an Unhealed Incision of a Diabetic Patient with Recombinant Human Epidermal Growth Factor. Modern Chemistry & Applications, 3(4), 166

5. Kwong KWY, Wong WKR (2013) A revolutionary approach facilitating co-expression of authentic human epidermal growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor in both cytoplasm and culture medium of Escherichia coli. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97: 9071-9080.

6. Chen, X., Xu, Z., Cen, P. and Wong, W.K.R. (2006) Enhanced plasmid stability and production of hEGF by immobilized recombinant E. coli JM101. Biochemical Engineering Journal 28:315-219.

7. Chen, X., Xu, Z., Cen, P. and Wong, W.K.R. (2005) A novel two-stage continuous process for excretive expression of hEGF by recombinant E. coli JM101. Process Biochemistry 40:1-4.


8. Tsang, M.W., Tsang, K.Y. and Wong, W.K.R. (2004) A case report on the use of recombinant human epidermal growth factor (rhEGF) in a gentlemen with drug induced Steven Johnson Syndrome. Derm. Ontline J. 10 (1): Article 25.

9. Tsang, M.W., Wong, W.K.R., Hung, C.S., Lai, K.M., Tang, W., Cheung, E.Y.N., Kam, G., Leung. L., Chan, C.W., Chu, C.M. and Lam, E.K.H. (2003). Human epidermal growth factor enhances healing of diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetes Care 26: 1856-61.

10. Tsang M.W., Hung, C.S., Cheung, E., Lai, K.M., Tang, W., Leung, L., Chan, C.S., Chu, C.M., Lam, E., Wong, W.K.R. (2002) Epidermal growth factor enhances healing of diabetics foot ulcer. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 56 (Suppl.1) S64-S65. 

11. Xu, Z.H., Cen, P.L. and Wong, W.K.R. (2001) The effects of different glucose feeding modes on hEGF production in an excretory recombinant Escherichia coli K12 system. Chinese Journal of Biotechnology 17:594-597.


12. Wong, W.K.R., Lam, E., Huang, R.C., Wong, R.S.C., Morris, C. and Hackett, J. (2001). Applications, and efficient large-scale production, of recombinant human epidermal growth factor. Invited for publication in Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering Reviews 18:51-71.


13. Wong, W.K. and Lam, K.T. (2001). Development of efficient bacterial systems for extracellular production of recombinant proteins: using production of hEGF as an example, p.118-124. In: Symposium on Vitop’s Biological Engineering, Technologies and Applications in the 21st Century. Vitop Hi-Tech In’t Industrial Co. Ltd, Zhuhai S.E.Z. China. 

14. Xu, Z., Liu, G., Cen, P. and Wong, W.K.R. (2000). Factors influencing excretive production of human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) with recombinant Escherichia coli K12 system. Bioprocess Engineering 23:669-674. 

15. Huang, R.C., Lam, E., Chen, Y.H., Hackett, J., Lam, T.L., Liu, D., Ma, M.C., Siu, K.L., Sivakesava, S., Xu, Z.N., Wong, R.S.C. and Wong, W.K.R. (1999). Human epidermal growth factor excreted by recombinant Escherichia coli K-12 has the correct N-terminus and is fully bioactive. Process Biochemistry 35:1-5.


16. Sivakesava, S., Xu. Z.N., Chen, Y.H., Hackett, J., Huang, R.C., Lam, E., Lam, T.L., Siu, K.L., Wong, R.S.C., and Wong, W.K.R. (1999). Production of excreted human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) by an efficient recombinant Escherichia coli system. Process Biochemistry 34:893-900.

17. Wong, D.K.H., Lam, K.H.E., Chan, C.K.P., Wong, Y.C.V., Wong, W.K.R. and Hackett, J. (1998). Extracellular expression of human epidermal growth factor encoded by an Escherichia coli K-12 plasmid stabilized by the ytl2-incR system system of Salmonella typhimurium. J. Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology 21:31-36.

18. Lam, K.H.E., Chow, K.C. and Wong, W.K.R. (1998). Construction of an efficient Bacillus subtilis system for extracellular production of heterologous proteins. J. Biotechnol. 63:167-177. 

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