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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Research

Hair Cloning Breakthrough with “Mass Production” of Epithelial Stem Cells

Progress towards hair cloning may have just have shifted up another gear thanks to scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The breakthrough study published January 28th, 2014 is the first to show the successful transformation of adult human skin cells into quantities of epithelial stem cells necessary for hair regeneration.

The researchers, led by Dr. Xiaowei “George” Xu, started with human skin cells called dermal fibroblasts, then transformed those into a type of stem cell called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These were then transformed into epithelial stem cells (EpSCs). This important step had never been achieved before in either humans or mice. The epithelial stem cells were combined with mouse dermal cells, that can be induced to form hair follicles, and then grafted on a mouse host. The epithelial cells and dermal cells then grew to form a functional human epidermis and follicles structurally similar to human hair follicles. The exhibits that accompany the study include photographic evidence of human hairs.

Yang R, et al. 2014

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Hair Restoration Research

Japanese Researchers Bioengineer Hair Follicles from Stem Cells, Dermal Papillae

Japanese researchers have demonstrated that scientists can bioengineer viable, hair-producing follicles from epithelial stem cells and dermal papilla cells. Using these components, the team produced follicles that exhibit both the normal hair cycle and piloerection (the reflex contraction of a tiny muscle in the hair follicles which creates what is commonly referred to as “goose bumps”). The bioengineered follicles also developed the normal structures found within follicles and formed natural connections with skin tissues, muscle cells, and nerve cells.

Toyoshima K, et al. 2012

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is an “Extracellular Matrix” In ACell’s Hair Cloning Technology?

Q: Like many people who are eagerly awaiting hair cloning, I read about ACell’s new technology, but what is an “extracellular matrix”? — S.B., Chicago, IL

A: An extracellular matrix, or ECM, is the substance between the cells in all animal tissues. It provides support to the cells and a number of other important functions. ECM is made up of fibrous proteins that form a web or mesh filled with a substance called glycosaminoglycans (GAG). One type of GAG, called hyaluronic acid, functions to hold water in the tissues. Another important part of the extracellular matrix is the basement membrane on which the epithelial cells of the skin and other tissues lie. Elastin in the ECM allows blood vessels, skin, and other tissues to stretch.

ECM has many functions including providing support for cells, regulating intercellular communication, and providing growth factors for wound healing and tissue regeneration.

Read more about ACell’s MatriStem ECM on our ACell for Hair Cloning page.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Does Hair Cloning Grow Hair Follicles from Cultured Cells?

Q: Considering cell cultivation is made possible how could their injection create a normal formation of hair on the scalp and can they induce hair growth also in scarred areas where previously hair stopped growing?

A: That is the question. It is not known if these induced follicles will resemble normal hairs, and be cosmetically acceptable on their own, or if they will grow unruly and must be used as a filler behind more aesthetically pleasing transplanted hair.

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