Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration - Intercytex
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The British government has awarded Intercytex a grant to automate the production of their new hair regeneration therapy. Intercytex is a cell therapy company that develops products to restore and regenerate skin and hair. Intercytex has partnered with a private company, The Automation Partnership (TAP), to develop an automated manufacturing process for their novel hair multiplication treatment.

The hair multiplication product, ICX-TRC, has been submitted as a hair regeneration therapy that uses cells cloned from one’s own scalp. It is intended for the treatment of male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) and female pattern hair loss. The key researcher, biochemist Dr. Paul Kemp, founder of Intercytex, is developing the hair multiplication treatment at their Manchester facility. This investment in hair cloning research is spearheaded by UK Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury.

The government grant will be used mainly to develop a robotic system specifically designed to support the commercial-scale production of their hair cloning product ICX-TRC, at a scale that can handle a large number of people. The company is currently in Phase II clinical testing.

How Intercytex’s Hair Cloning Product Works

Intercytex’s method of hair regeneration involves removing a slice of the scalp, complete with hairs and follicles, from the back of the head. Hair follicles from this area are most resistant to typical hereditary baldness. The sample is taken to a laboratory where the hair producing dermal papilla (DP) cells are extracted and multiplied in flasks. After eight weeks, the DP cells should have cloned into millions of hair cells.

To complete the hair cloning process, the new cells are injected back into the patient’s scalp under a local anesthetic. These cultured cells should then develop into brand new hair follicles.

Intercytex

Intercytex is a 6-year-old company with its main office is in Cambridge, UK and has a clinical production facility and research and development laboratories in Manchester, UK. Additional laboratories are located in Boston, Massachusetts. TAP, founded in 1988, is a private company with headquarters near Cambridge, UK. Intercytex is publicly traded on the London Stock exchange (LSE: ICX).

Additional information about this hair cloning product can be found at www.intercytex.com.

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Dr. Bernstein summarizes an article on hair cloning in The Plain Dealer:

An English based company called Intercytex has claimed some success in its research on hair cloning with its first testing in humans. This technique is similar to the one initially proposed by Dr. Colin Jahoda and published in 1999. (Download the article )

The idea is that certain cells (called fibroblasts) found at the bottom of hair follicles can be separated from the follicles after they have been removed from the scalp, and then be used to form new follicles.

The way this works is as follows: a few hair follicles at the permanent area from the back of the scalp (the area that does not bald) are removed. In a lab, the germinative cells at the base of the follicle are dissected off and placed in a Petri dish. They are then incubated in a special medium and allowed to multiply thousands of times.

These cultured cells are then injected into the balding area of the scalp where they induce complete hair follicles to form. In contrast to traditional hair transplants, where the doctor is limited by the patient’s finite donor supply and hair is literally just moved around (from the back to the front), in hair cloning, there will be an actual increase in the total number of hairs on a person’s head.

Initial testing involved seven male volunteers that were suffering from androgenetic alopecia (common baldness). After the process, five of them showed an increased amount of hair. Fortunately, there were no complications, such as skin inflammation or tissue rejection. However, the test area was small and volunteers only grew a little hair.

Towards the middle of next year, additional patients will be tested using a greater number of cloned cells, so that a larger area of the scalp could be covered. The researchers speculate that this new cloning technology may be on the market in as soon as five years.

The researchers speculate that in the distant future, traditional hair transplants may not be needed at all. Instead, as patients start to thin, they could come to the clinic on a regular basis for injections of their own cells to stimulate the growth of new follicles and stop the impending balding – a sort of hair maintenance.

Reference: The Plain Dealer, Tuesday, November 15, 2005. “Hope grows for bald baby boomers,” Malcolm Ritter, Associated Press.

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