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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
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 Research

Columbia University Study on 3-D Cultures is ‘Substantial Step Forward’ Towards Cloning Human Hair

For four decades, scientists have known about the possibility of using cells derived from the base of hair follicles (dermal papilla cells) to stimulate the growth of new hair. More recently, researchers have been able to harvest dermal papillae, multiply them, and induce the creation of new hair follicles – but only in rats. Now, for the first time, scientists at Columbia University have shown that they can induce new human hair growth from cloned human papillae. This procedure, called “hair follicle neogenesis,” has the potential to solve one of the primary limitations in today’s surgical hair restoration techniques; namely, the patient’s finite donor hair supply that is available for transplantation.

A significant number of hair loss patients do not have enough donor hair to be candidates for a hair transplant procedure with the percentage of women lacking stable donor hair greater than in men. This technique would enable both men and women with limited donor reserves to benefit from hair transplant procedures and enable current candidates to achieve even better results.

According to co-study leader Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York, the ground-breaking publication is a “substantial step forward” in hair follicle neogenesis. While the technology still needs further development to be clinically useful, the implications of successfully inducing new hair follicles to grow from cloned hair cells could be a game-changer in the arena of hair restoration. Instead of moving hair follicles from the donor area to the recipient area, as in a hair transplant, follicular neogenesis involves the creation of new follicles, literally adding more follicles to the scalp rather than merely transplanting them from one part of the scalp to another.

Higgins C, et al. 2013

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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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