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Hair Restoration Research

Researchers Untangle Potential Pathway to Regenerating Hair in a Bald Scalp

Scientific research is often the quintessential example of taking something apart to learn how it works. A team of researchers has used that age-old technique to unwind the complex process by which embryonic cells organize into functional skin that includes “organoids” like hair follicles. By untangling this biological mystery, they were able to develop a model that could potentially lead to hair regeneration treatments and other advances in regenerative medicine. The study — “Self-organization process in newborn skin organoid formation inspires strategy to restore hair regeneration of adult cells” — was published in the August 22nd, 2017 issue of the journal PNAS.

Lei M, et al. 2017

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Hair Restoration Research

Study Confirms Importance of Dermal Sheath Stem Cells in Hair Growth Cycle

Colony of self-renewing dermal sheath cellsColony of self-renewing dermal sheath cells

New research published in the journal Developmental Cell has confirmed the importance of dermal sheath stem cells in maintaining the hair growth cycle. These cells, located around the lower portion of growing follicles, form the basis of an experimental treatment, being developed by Replicel Life Sciences, Inc., to regenerate hair-producing follicles. If successful, the treatment will be a game-changer for the hair restoration industry.

Rahmani W, et al. 2014

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Hair Restoration Research

Hair Cloning Researchers Outline Hurdles Towards Hair Loss Therapy

Dr. Claire Higgins and her colleague Dr. Colin Jahoda have published an overview of hair cloning and the challenges scientists face in attempting to develop hair regeneration therapies for androgenetic alopecia, or common balding. The article, published in Hair Transplant Forum International, points to two central problems in developing a hair loss therapy. The first is the difficulty in getting dermal papilla cells in humans to self-aggregate and form hair follicles and the second is the inability, thus far, of scientists to generate normal hairs and follicles.

Higgins C, et al. 2014

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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 Answers

When will Dr. Christiano’s Research on Follicular Neogenesis (Hair Cloning) be Available?

Q: I read, with considerable interest, your excellent article on the latest in Dr. Angela Christiano’s work on follicular neogenesis. It seems to me that the next questions we should be asking are: when will testing begin on human subjects and when might her research develop into a hair cloning treatment that is available to the general public?

A: It is very difficult to determine when this phase of the research might begin and it is even harder to predict when treatment might become available. First, the technology is not quite there. Dr. Christiano showed in her recent paper that changing the environment of skin (fibroblast) cells so that they could form into 3-D cultures enabled them to induce human hair-follicle growth. Although this was a major step towards cloning hair, additional work needs to be done before we will be able to mass produce fully-functioning human hair follicles to the extent needed for hair transplantation.

In addition, research on human subjects requires that experiments meet rigorous federal regulatory standards and these take time to be approved and carried out. Supposing that further study of follicle neogenesis results in a breakthrough treatment for hair loss, this treatment would still require meeting substantial efficacy and safety requirements of the FDA before it would be made available to the public. We will be communicating important developments as they occur through our Hair Cloning Research section and through periodic updates in the Bernstein Medical Newsletter.

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Hair Restoration Research

Hair Cloning Prospects Boosted By Breakthrough 3-D Culture Technique

Scientists from Durham University in the UK have shown for the first time that a lab technique, called a three-dimensional cell culture, can produce spherical structures that are similar to naturally occurring structures in hair follicle formation (called dermal papilla or DP). This breakthrough study by Claire Higgins and Colin Jahoda, published in the June 2010 issue of the journal Experimental Dermatology, has the potential to unlock the ability of researchers to develop functional DP cells which can be used in hair restoration techniques such as hair cloning or hair multiplication.

Higgins C, et al. 2010

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