Columbia University Scientist Induces Hair Follicle Growth from Dermal Papilla ImplantsSeptember 27th, 2012
We have previously discussed Dr. Angela Christiano‘s work on hair loss genetics with her team at Columbia University in New York. A review of the 16th annual meeting of the European Hair Research Society; held recently in Barcelona, Spain; brings to our attention new research being conducted by a very astute scientist, Dr. Claire Higgins, who works at Dr. Christiano’s laboratory.
With tissue supplied by Bernstein Medical, Dr. Higgins is studying the inductive properties of the dermal papilla (DP), a group of cells that forms the structure directly below each hair follicle. As outlined in our Hair Cloning Methods page, the dermal papilla is of great interest to hair restoration physicians. Ideally, research of this kind will lead to a breakthrough in hair cloning or hair multiplication which will allow physicians to effectively “cure” hair loss by developing a limitless supply of donor hair that can be used in hair restoration procedures.
A description of Dr. Higgins’ work is provided by the Hair Transplant Forum International:
“After isolating [dermal papilla] from human hair follicles, they grow the human DP cells in spheroid cultures in order to retain their inductive potential. Then they place the dermal papilla spheres between the epidermis and dermis of neonatal foreskin and graft it onto the back of mice. Human [hair follicle] neogenesis can be observed after 6 weeks.”
In essence, the scientists were able to capitalize on the potential of dermal papilla cells to induce the growth of a hair follicle by enclosing the DP cells in a small sphere. When implanted, the DP cells maintained their properties of inducing the development of follicles, and, indeed, follicles did grow.
It is another example of how far our understanding of the biology of hair has come in the last 10 years. And it is another example of scientists closing in on the elusive “hair loss cure.”