ACell’s Extracellular Matrix (ECM) is a natural biological material that can be implanted at the site of an injury or damaged tissue in order to stimulate healing. The graft stimulates the body’s own cells to form new tissue specific to that site (a process referred to as “Auto-cloning”). Therefore, instead of the body producing scar tissue, the body heals by remodeling with new tissue.
ACell, Inc., a company based in Columbia, Maryland, has developed an Extracellular Matrix that encourages the body’s own regenerative capabilities to repair tissues and restore them to a natural state. ACell’s MatriStem is a naturally occurring bio-scaffold, derived from porcine (pig) tissue. When MatriStem is placed into a surgical site or wound, it is reabsorbed and replaced with new, more supple tissue, rather than a firm scar.
ECM has been shown to promote rapid tissue remodeling by promoting neovascularization (growth of new blood vessels) and recruiting host-derived mesenchymal cells (cells that lay down collagen and potentially can promote the formation of hair). These effects can potentially result in quicker healing of wounds and less scarring.
The ACell MatriStem devices have had some preliminary success in allowing plucked hairs, that were placed into recipient sites on the patient’s scalp, to grow. The possibility of using a biologically-derived matrix to enable hair multiplication exists, but significant work remains in order for hair multiplication to become a practical treatment for hair loss in men and women. It is also anticipated that ECM will facilitate the healing of the incision in the donor area after a hair transplant by its regenerative properties.
Dr. Bernstein has been studying the use of ECM for scalp hair multiplication, as well as the facilitation of wound healing in follicular unit transplantation procedures. Results thus far have not been encouraging and we are currently not recommending ECM for our patients.