Tag Archives: Hair Cloning

Columbia University Scientists Announced Brand-New Breakthrough for Hair Loss Treatment

Currently, the standard approach for treating male pattern baldness is follicular unit hair transplantation, commonly referred to as FUT or “hair transplant.” This approach involves a surgical procedure in which healthy hair follicles are taken from a donor site and relocated to an affected area. While effective, this technique is not a cure for hair loss, as hair growth is not restored. Rather, existing hair follicles are redistributed in order to minimize the appearance of thinning hair. Additionally, not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure. Women, for example, tend to undergo a diffuse type of hair loss and suffer from a lack of stable donor sites from which grafts for transplantation can be obtained. Patients in the early stages or with excessive hair loss, patients suffering from scarring alopecia, and patients with hair loss due to burn wounds are also not good candidates for the procedure.

Recently, a research team has reported success in stimulating hair growth using cloned dermal papilla (DP) cells.1 These results have exciting implications for hair loss treatment practices. Rather than having to rely on surgical redistribution of existing hair follicles, treatment in the near future could make use of a patient’s own DP cells to stimulate the production of new hair, as well as rejuvenate hair follicles already in place.

A New Way to Trick Hair Follicles Into Producing More Hair

DP cells are specialized cells that reside within the hair follicle bulb. Among other important functions, DP cells send signals to epithelial stem cells to initiate and promote hair growth, making these cells ideal candidates for use in treating hair loss. The idea of cloning DP cells and using them to initiate hair growth is not new. Until recently, however, attempts to retrieve functional DP cells using standard cloning practices have been unsuccessful. One of the main setbacks encountered was trying to keep cloned cells from reverting back to basic skin cells. Angela Christiano, Ph.D., a professor at Columbia University and one of lead investigators in the current study, explained in an interview with “Men’s Health Online” that shortly after removal from the follicle, the cells could no longer recall that they were DP cells. Their cellular identity had basically been erased.2 DP cells require a number of chemical signals from neighboring cells in order to maintain their ability to stimulate hair growth. 3 Cells that have been removed from their natural environment and grown in culture – a procedural step required in order to increase the number of donor cells – no longer seem to receive these signals. As a result, DP cells revert back to basic skin cells and lose the critical ability to stimulate hair growth.
To solve this problem, the research team headed by Christiano in the United States and Colin Jahoda, M.D., Ph.D. at Durham University in the United Kingdom, took a closer look at what was happening during the cloning procedure. Specifically, they looked at how DP cells behave in culture. Traditional culture conditions yield a 2D matrix of cells that is very different from the natural, 3D environment from which the cells are derived. Previously, it had been shown that DP cells extracted from mice, which aggregate in culture to form 3D clumps or spheres, retain their cellular identity and are able to stimulate hair growth when transplanted back.4 Researchers hypothesized that, by forming aggregates, the cultured mouse cells are creating a microenvironment for themselves that mimicks the conditions from which they were originally obtained.

Hair Cloning May Arrive in 2014 After All!

Taking their cue from this observed behavior, the research team turned their attention to the growth pattern of human DP cells in culture. Unlike the mouse cells, human DP cells grow to form a 2D matrix when cloned. Researchers found a significant difference in the genes that are expressed in these cloned cells and those expressed in the original cells. Armed with this knowledge, they took the DP cells and grew them under conditions that promote 3D spheroid formation, rather than the traditional 2D matrix. By reprogramming the cells’ microenvironment in this way, researchers were now able to grow cells with a gene expression pattern similar to that of the original DP cells. In other words, the cells that grew in spheroids didn’t revert, but retained several of their original features.

Researchers examined the ability of these cultured cells to induce hair follicle growth. Remarkably, they discovered that the human DP cells that grew in spheroids were capable of initiating de novo hair follicle growth. What does this mean? It means that human DP cells can indeed stimulate new hair to grow if they are cloned under the appropriate growth conditions – in 3D spheroids.
The results are compelling and clear. When DP cells were transplanted between the dermal and epidermal layers of human skin grafted onto the backs of mice, five out of the seven DP cell populations were able to induce hair follicle growth. As much as six weeks after induction, hair follicles containing inner root sheaths and hair shafts could be seen growing on the human skin grafts.
Researchers verified their findings by analyzing the DNA of the new follicles. Test results showed that the follicles were, indeed, human and a genetic match with the donor cells, proving that the induced follicle growth was undoubtedly a product of the transplanted DP cells.

Previous studies have shown that human DP cells grown in a 3D environment can retain their growth-induction properties when introduced into mouse epidermal cells.5 This is the first time, however, that it has been demonstrated that cultured DP cells grown in such a way can induce hair follicle growth de novo when transplanted into human dermal layers (albeit human dermal layers that have been grafted onto a mouse.) To be clear, the spheroid-derived cells in this latest study were not implanted into existing hair follicles, mouse or human. All of the resulting hair growth occurred from de novo follicles, and was directed entirely by transplanted DP cells.
The significance of these results is astounding to those with a vested interest in finding a better way to treat or reverse hair loss. This is the first time it has been shown that hair follicle growth can, indeed, be restored. Donor DP cells for procedures based on this technique could come from as little as a few hundred hairs, a vast improvement over the thousands of follicles currently needed for follicular unit hair transplantation. Such an advance would make treatment available to the previously mentioned groups of hair loss sufferers who don’t qualify for hair transplant surgery because they don’t have sufficient donor follicles.

The results of the study were announced in an advanced online communication and will appear in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. While the findings indicate an important advance in the field of hair loss treatment, researchers caution that there is still some work to be done before human clinical trials can begin. Specifically, the source of certain physical properties of the newly induced hair, such as rate of growth, texture, and color are still unclear. Researchers are confident, however, that answers to these questions aren’t too far off. The announcement is a welcome and exciting one, not just for hair loss sufferers, but for the medical and scientific fields at large.

1. Higgins, C.A., et al. (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (epub ahead of print)
2. Behar, M. (n.d.) Men’s Health. MH Spoghtlight. Web. 26 Oct 2013
3. Rendl, M., et al. (2008) Genes & Dev 22:543-57
4. Inamatsu, M., et al. (1998) J Invest Dermatol 111:767-75
5. Kang, B.M., et al. (2011) J Invest Dermatol 137:232-39

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RepliCel Now Accepting Applications for Upcoming Clinical Trials of Hair Cloning Technology

RepliCel™ Life Sciences, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, is currently accepting the names of people interested in maybe participating in the next round of its clinical trials of its new hair cloning treatment. Its current Phase I/IIa clinical trials, being conducted in Georgia, are scheduled to end in April 2012.

Replical’s hair regeneration technology involves the harvesting and multiplication of what are called dermal sheath cup (DSC) cells located in a “bulb” at the base of the hair follicle.

In laboratory studies, RepliCel™ scientists have found that DSC cells both stimulate the development of mature hair follicles and the creation of new ones. The scientists discovered that the DSC cells are capable of actually regrowing the dermal papilla and hair follicles themselves.

The way the treatment works is this. Trained technicians harvest DSC cells at locations in the base of the neck, where they are plentiful. These harvested DSC cells are then placed in a special nutrient medium in a laboratory where they multiply.

Once there are a sufficient number of DSC cells taken from a patient’s own neck hairs, the new cells are injected directly into the scalp where hair loss has occurred. Like reseeding a lawn, the DSC cells “migrate” to hair papilla that already exist and effect an regenerative transformation. They also create brand-new hair follicles.

Most importantly, the harvested DSC cells are taken from hair follicles, at the base of the head near the neck, that are not as sensitive to male sex hormones (androgens) which, scientists believe, are what cause the hair follicle miniaturization that makes hair loss happen in the first place.

Also, because the DSC cells come from the patient’s own body, rejection of the cells is far less likely.

RepliCel™ is now accepting queries from individuals who might be interested in participating in its new round of clinical trials. If you’d like more information about possibly participating in its new Phase I/IIa clinical trial of its hair regeneration technology, fill in the form below:

Aderans Research and Clinical Trials in Stem Cell Hair Regrowth Technology

Aderans Research [ARI] is a subsidiary of two companies interested in the development of resolving the issues of hair loss from a number of differing causes including medical treatments for cancer, genetic disturbances and inheritors, and injuries resulting in damage to hair follicles such as burns or wounds. Aderans Research is located in Atlanta, Ga. The parent company, Aderans Co., LTD is located in Beverly Hills working in conjunction with Bosley hair treatment and clinics.

ARI is in the second phase of developing cellular restoration products for hair regrowth applications. In November 2011, Aderans announced that it was opening new facilities for additional clinical trials in association with Radiant Research in four new cities across the nation. Some clinics are still accepting people who wish to participate in the study. To date, over 356 individuals have been joined the study as clinical subjects.

Aderans’ research develops rejuvenation using a subjects own hair stem cells eliminating the need for concerns about rejection. By cultivating stem cells from the subject, other complications such as infections or disease transmission is dramatically reduced. ARI studies include both regeneration of hair cells at the follicular level for both men and women.

A stem cell is any cell from any part of the body – skin, brain, fatty tissue, hair, or organs – which has the ability to replicate itself. This process is much like the stem of a plant which sprouts leaves along its length. These cells are one part of the ingredient in hair regeneration. The second part is the cell that acts an alarm clock waking dormant cells.

It has been known since the University of Pennsylvania’s study in 2004 that hair follicles include multiple cells. Some of these cells are hair replication cells, which control cyclical growth of hair. Other cells are communicator cells, which are necessary to wake the dormant cells when it is time for them to grow. People with certain types of hair loss are now known to lack the alarm clock cells. Unless there is a method to inform the dormant cells that it is time to activate, hairs are not generated.

In a Yale University research program, it was discovered that the communication cells, which instruct the hair cells to grow, is found in the fatty layer below the epidermis. The complete ramifications of the results are still not clear but hopes remain strong that this will lead to the ability of medical research to replicate other cells in the human body. Until this time, the value of the fatty layer was not understood.

With the latest breakthroughs in molecular endocrinology regarding communicator cells in the fatty layer beneath the skin and Yale Research in the importance of fat cells for hair growth, Aderans has developed products that are addressing these issues. However, this does not address issues with an underlying cause related to the contraction of hair follicles.

One of the major problems that medical transplants observed was the patchy effect of surgical transplants. The question of why one area of the scalp would allow hair regrowth while another in close proximity would not could not be explained. The Yale and University of Penn studies shed light on this problem. With that, researchers around the world have been working to develop methods to overcome the problem.

During Phase I conducted in the U.K., Aderans research has focused on pattern redistribution issues noted in traditional surgical transplants and medical treatments for regrowth. One of the problems documented was the limitation of distribution of hair regrowth in surgical transplants.

The process used by Aderans involves the reproduction or replication of hair cells taken from a subject. By removing hair samples from the subjects scalp, the stem cells from the follicle are stripped out and placed in a medium that incubates the cells. The medium contains nutrients that are necessary for the cells to replicate on their own. In this way, there are an unlimited number of hair follicles to replant in the subjects scalp. In addition, the fat cells that are a necessary part of the continuation of hair growth develop simultaneously during replication due to the medium used.

Part of the medium used by Aderans is a small amount of tissue removed from the nape of the subject’s neck. By using this method, the fat cells become an integral part of the cloning process and compatible with the subject. This tissue used with Wnt proteins stimulates the replication system of the cells in a natural way.

In January 2012, Dr. Ken Washenik participated as a presenter for the 2012 Winter Dermatology Conference in Maui. Speaking on “Emerging Therapies for Hair Loss,” Dr. Washenik discussed the treatments and new breakthroughs of molecular dermatology as well as the latest advances in Aderans’ Ji Gami product line. He stressed the advance in products still in the pipeline that are proving to be consistently stable.

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Hair Loss Products: RepliCel Life Sciences to Conduct Phase II Clinical Trials of its Hair Cell Replication Technology

RepliCel Life Sciences Inc. announced February 5th that it is negotiating with German government officials for its upcoming Phase II clinical trial for its hair multiplication product, known as RCH-0, at the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), a medical regulatory agency located in Langen, Germany.

The clinical trial will test the effectiveness of RCH-01 in more than 100 male volunteers suffering from various stages of hair loss. The purpose of the clinical trial is to further test the safety of RCH-01 injections as well as to determine the optimal protocol for the treatment to increase hair growth.

Hair Loss Products That Grow New Hair

“We are happy with the progress made with the design of our upcoming Phase II trial and are quite eager to get input from the PEI that will allow us to conduct the best clinical trial for the development of our product,” said Darrell Panich, Replicel’s vice president of clinical affairs. “Designing a trial in consultation with the PEI will facilitate the completion of the formal clinical trial application for our upcoming trial.”

Replicel is has developed what is says is a natural hair cell replication technology that, it claims, has the potential to become the world’s first “minimally invasive solution” for androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness) and general hair loss in both men and women. The technology involves removing hair follicles from a patient’s scalp, reproducing them in a laboratory, and then re-injecting them into various sites on the scalp – much like “re-seeding” a lawn. This hair cell replication technology would overcome one of the principal obstacles for surgical hair restoration: the lack of a sufficient amount of donor hair on many patients for a cosmetically satisfying result. The RepliCel technology, if it works, would provide what its supporters hope will be a virtually limitless amount of donor follicles for “re-seeding.”

The Phase II clinical trial represents a significant advance in the research. In the Phase I clinical trial, the company produced only 16 “data points.” The Phase II trial aims at 288, enough to determine the optimal type and amount of injections for treating hair loss.

The Vancouver, B.C.-based company says it has won patents for its technology from both the European Union and Australia and that patents are currently pending in other jurisdictions.

“The Company has made significant advancements in its manufacturing procedures and these improvements are expected to have a meaningful impact on our RCH-01 program,” said Replicel CEO David Hall, in a written statement released in early February. “We are committed to receiving guidance and implementing the recommendations provided by the regulatory authorities to ensure we have a well-constructed Phase II trial that will lead to the optimum dose to treat pattern baldness.”

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ASHRS Chief: Hair Cloning or Hair Multiplication is Coming

The president of the American Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ASHRS), Dr. Marco Barusco, declared in January that hair cloning is the most important technological advance on the horizon for hair restoration doctors. While hair cloning is not yet available, Dr. Barusco said he is encouraged that various companies are now in Phase II clinical trials and he expects the technique to be available in the next couple years.

Hair cloning is generally considered to be any technique that attempts to harvest hair follicle cells from a patient, multiply them in growth media in a lab, and then use the new cells to “reseed” bald scalps. Dr. Barusco added that hair cloning will make possible transplants for people who couldn’t have them in the past because they lacked a sufficient amount of donor hair. At least four companies are now actively engaged in hair cloning research – RepliCel Life Sciences, Aderans Research, Follica and Dr. Coen Gho’s Hair Science Institute. They differ slightly on which type of cells they harvest and use in their process.

In 2008, hair cloning was in the news because of pioneering trials being conducted by a British company, Intercytex, that subsequently had financial difficulties and was sold. The hair challenged public became discouraged by the frequent delays so that many today believe that hair cloning is all hype and that the technology will never arrive.

However, Dr. Barusco doesn’t feel that way. He is encouraged by the research done so far and by the fact that companies such as Aderans and RepliCel are moving on to Phase II clinical trials of hair cloning with greater numbers of subjects.

Hair cloning is not the same thing as stem cell treatments. Other companies, such as Histogen in San Diego, are attempting to develop products that restore and reactivate existing hair follicles on balding heads that have been, in a sense, shut off. The hope is that a unique combination of special growth factors and cytokines will be able to “wake up” these dormant hair follicles so that they once again produce hair on a regular basis. Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex, which is currently in development, will be an injectable treatment performed in a medical clinic under a doctor’s supervision.

Cygenx currently produces a growth factor hair growth serum, which it calls RegenRXx, that is available now as a topical lotion. It is applied either alone or with the aid of a dermaroller.

Breakthrough: Japanese Scientists Use Stem Cells to Regenerate Hair Follicles in Bald Mice!

Despite the myriad delays, it appears that we are much closer to a realistic hair cloning or hair multiplication technology than many people thought! In a new study published April 18 in the journal Nature Communciations, Japanese scientists report that they successfully grew hair on bald mice by implanting specially bio-engineered adult stem cells into the dormant hair follicles on the mice.

According to Dr. Takashi Tsuji of Tokyo University of Science, the lead scientist on the project, the team was able to take extract two types of stem cells from the hair follicles of adult mice (epithelial stem cells and dermal papilla cells), cultivate the stem cells in a lab, and then transplant the cells into the scalps of hairless mice.


The result: Within three weeks, the new “bio-engineered” follicles began sprouting new hair! Not only that, but the new hair follicles continued to grow hair even when the hair was pulled out.

You can read the entire study by clicking here.

Needless to say, the research is yet another sign that a true treatment for baldness may not be as far away as has been supposed. The scientists predict that soon hair specialist will be able to extract “tens of thousands” of stem cells from a patient, cultivated into healthy follicles and then injected back into the bald areas of a patient’s scalp.

In this study, we successfully demonstrate fully functional bioengineered hair follicle regeneration that produces follicles that can repeat the hair cycle, connect properly with surrounding skin tissues and achieve piloerection,” the Japanese scientists concluded. “This regeneration occurs through the rearrangement of various follicular stem cells and their niches. These findings significantly advance the technological development of bioengineered hair follicle regenerative therapy.”

At least two companies, Aderans Research and Replicel, are currently involved in clinical tests of similar technologies with human patients.

What appears to be novel with the Japanese technique is that it is using bio-engineered adult stems cells to “regenerate” existing but dormant hair follicles in a bald scalp. “Our bioengineered vibrissa follicle germ that was reconstituted using adult follicle-derived stem cells successfully regenerated the hair follicle following intracutaneous transplantation,” the scientists said. Other efforts have used the products of stem cells, such as cytokines and growth factors, in an effort to regenerate dormant hair follicles. But the Japansese technique appears to be a far more technical engineering of the stem cell materials themselves and then engrafting of them into the hair follicle “bulges.” “For hair follicle regeneration, the bioengineered hair germs were ectopically engrafted into the subrenal capsules of 8-week-old mice,” the scientists added.

The bottom line: As we have long insisted, research into a realistic stem cell cure for baldness is continuing worldwide. It is a slow, painful, frustrating process that is driving everyone crazy but, despite the understandable complaints of critics — who say we hear all these promises and then YEARS go by with no practical result — it appears that the research is paying off. Within the next 10 years, baldness, at least for the young, man be a thing of the past. I’m still not sure whether we will see the ultimate “Chia Pet Cure” — in which an adult man with a totally bald head sprouts hair like a Chia Pet — but even that may be possible!

Stay tuned, folks!

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Baldness Cure: Replicel Develops Hair Loss Treatment for Cue Ball Heads!

Replicel Life Science Inc. is developing a technology that may become the world’s very first, minimally invasive, permanent baldness cure. Replicel’s founders and researchers are from established universities in Canada and Germany and have studied immunology, hair biology and hair growth for more than two decades.

In 2000s, Dr. Kevin McElwee and Dr. Rolf Hoffman discovered that dermal sheath cup-derived stem cells could potentially induce the formation of new hair follicles in animals as well as better quality hair growth. A patent for this discovery was filed in 2003, and is accepted in Europe and Australia and is now pending in the Canada, Japan and the United States. Replicel’s current work involves translating this discovery into a permanent hair loss treatment, perhaps even a baldness cure. The procedure has been in the development phase for the past nine years.

This hair loss treatment works by using autologous cell implantation technology; dermal sheath cup cells from a patient’s own healthy hair follicles and are replicated into the millions over a three-month period. These cells are reintroduced into areas affected by hair loss and theoretically this should cause the development of new hair follicles.

Currently Replicel’s treatment can potentially be used as a baldness cure for both men and women, trauma induced hair loss, traction alopecia, chemotherapy induced hair loss, scarring alopecias, congenital alopecia and congenital hypotrichoses.

The hair loss treatment was first tested on mice and proved to be safe and effective. Human clinical trials are being carried out at the moment. The primary aim of these trials is to determine whether this treatment can provide a safe and reliable hair growth solution. The trials will be divided into two phases, the efficacy and safety of the treatment will be studied in the first phase and the second phase will involve a larger number of participants and the amount of dose will be manipulated.

If it is found to be effective and safe in the human trials, Replicel’s stem cell hair loss treatment may not only provide hope for those suffering from different types of balding, but it can also be very profitable. It being a non-invasive treatment and not involving any animal products will make it popular among people with different religious beliefs.

In conclusion, Replicel’s procedure as a permanent hair loss treatment does seem promising in the light of the research that has been carried out but more human clinical trials need to be carried out before a final verdict can be given.

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Hair Cloning: RepliCel and the World of Cellular Hair Restoration

RepliCel, also known as RepliCel Life Sciences, is a research and development company for treatment and cure of hair loss – genetic based pattern baldness in men and women. The company is in the process of documenting the safety and procedures for its hair regrowth technologies in human subjects. The long-term goal is to produce a procedure that is minimally invasive and will be able to cure multiple forms of hair loss disorders.

In 2003, Dr. McElwee and Hoffman at Phillips University in Marburg, Germany discovered dermal sheath cup cells had the ability to initiate mature hair follicles cell growth. Dermal sheath cup cells or DSC cells are the portion of the hair bulb located at the lower pole that appears to surround the bulb in a distinct cup like shape. These particular cells are capable of formation of new hair when grown in a proper medium. In their experiments, the researchers used Green fluorescent protein as the growth medium.

Part of their research discovered a method of identifying mesenchyme cells by use of these DSC cells. Mesenchyme is the embryonic tissue derived from the derma level and differentiates connective tissues. These MSCs are multipotent cells from tissues such as adipose tissue, adult muscle or dental pulp from baby teeth. These cells display a direct correlation to the cyclical process of hair cell growth. This was a tremendous breakthrough that coupled with other researchers findings became one of the baselines for medical research into hair regeneration.

This discovery led to applications worldwide for patents to produce a variety of products and to continue research in hair growth procedures. RepliCel has patented the process for claiming the DSCs and preparing them for replication. Once these cells have replicated in the thousands, they are injected into the necessary areas of the patient’s scalp.

There are several types of alopecia related causes of balding in men and women. This method of treatment is believed to be on track to treat many of these. The most common alopecia is androgenetic alopecia or pattern baldness. This is seen in men and women and is a genetic predisposition disorder. In some cases, it is believed that the follicle shrinks, which disallows the natural replication of hair in adjacent cells.

Yet, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the civil outbreaks across the Middle East, the research for trauma induced alopecia. This is caused by burns, chemical trauma, scarring from skin cancer surgery and other surgical procedures. While RepliCel is thought of more in the field of hair regeneration, the research and product development applies to far more.

Traction alopecia is another common form of hair loss. Seen in men, women and children, this is caused by pulling on the hair. Some people do this when under stress and others when sleeping. The RepliCel procedures are working to regenerate hair in severe cases of this disorder.

Once the replicated cells are injected into the subject’s scalp area, researchers anticipate that they will produce follicles that match the patients’ cells. At that point, these follicles will initiate natural hair growth that is identical to the hair of the subject. There is early evidence that this particular process results in the hair-producing cells migrating into follicles that are adjacent to the new ones. What has also been revealed is that this migration only seeks out follicles that are in need of some kind of repair.

There is evidence that one of the causes for shrinking follicles is related to lack of or an overabundance of testosterone hormone indicators called androgens. Research has already shown that the injected replicated cells are not affected by the androgen process. This means that the new hair will not undergo shrinkage again. There is every hope that this methodology will become a permanent solution for this disease.

One of RepliCel’s proudest achievements is the current testing on human volunteers at the Scientific Research Institute for Skin and Venereal Disease in Tblisi, Ga. These clinical trials are focusing on the specific regenerative effects of DSC cell treatments in humans. In these trials the effort is for the purpose of replacing skin tissue by growing new skin from a patients own cellular structure. Additionally, the replication of hair growth in those with androgenetic alopecia is underway in the same study.

The primary purpose of these studies is to ascertain the safety of these injections in human bodies and if there are unexpected consequences or rejection issues as yet undiscovered. All of the volunteers at the Tblisi clinic undergo biopsies in order to properly document any issues before, after or during the process. RepliCel is not a drug treatment therapy. Yet, for the purpose of documentation RepliCel is following procedures outlined for pharmaceutical research studies. It is estimated that this formula for its research will allow the necessary FDA approval to be expedited when the research is completed.


Will 2012 Finally See Stem Cell Cure for Hair Loss?

Stem cell research has been the center of attention in the scientific world for the past few decades. This promising yet highly controversial research has also been the subject of many scientific debates. While it may hold the key to many incurable diseases, there is still a long way to go before a stem cell cure may be made available to the public.

For many years, a stem cell cure was completely out of question due to the controversies surrounding the topic because of its extensive use of embryonic stem cells and low success rate. However, more recently, scientists have been trying to revert differentiated cells from adult donors into their pluripotent form for the purpose of their research. However, to date, success rate of such research remains low.

A lot of research has been done regarding stem cells including their ability to cure hair loss. In a study conducted by the Hair and Scalp Clinics in Clearwater, Fla. researchers showed some promising results in people suffering from Alopecia Areata. The basis of this study is stem cell research and it uses the patient’s own platelet-rich plasma. Although, the study has shown some positive immediate effects, long-term effects and side effects remain unknown.

Another recent study reported by the Journal of Clinical Investigation has shown that some signals need to be sent to the stem cells for them to regenerate hair. In the event that scientists can do this, a cure may become possible. Currently though, this study has only been conducted on men, and it is not known as to how females may respond to this treatment. The aforementioned research may seem promising but before one has to consider the plethora of research that has already been done yet yielded no concrete stem cell cure for hair loss. Case in point, the research done by University of Pennsylvania’s school of Medicine in 2004, which managed to isolate stem cells responsible for hair follicle growth treatments. At that point of time, it was considered very promising and was featured in various scientific journals. However, so far it has not resulted in a practical hair loss treatment.

In conclusion, it’s unlikely that 2012 will see a stem cell cure for hair loss. However, the research is continuing slowly but steadily. Stem cell research is slowly uncovering the actual mechanisms behind hair loss… and the more scientists discover about what causes the minaturization that leads to baldness, the sooner they will be able to develop treatments that stop these mechanisms in their tracks and even reverse them.

That is why most experts still believe that stem cell research to cure hair loss still looks promising. The “cure” we are all searching for will NOT come this year, in 2012, but may well arrive in this decade, before 2020. Stay tuned!

Susan Thompson is a health writer who blogs about hair loss technologies.

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Does Acell Matristem & PRP Result in Genuine Hair Regeneration?

A number of hair restoration surgeons are now claiming that they can effect genuine hair regeneration from dormant follicles through the combination of two medical therapies: So-called PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Injections and a product called ACell MatriStem. Acell MatriStem is “porcine urinary bladder matrix,” derived from pig bladder cells, that has proven to be very helpful in wound healing. And as readers of this website know, wound healing has been at the forefront of research into hair cloning and hair follicle regeneration.

At the 19th annual conference last year of the International Society of Hair Transplant Surgeons held in Anchorage, Alaska, Dr. Gary Hitzig presented evidence that Acell “attacts” adult stem cells to a “wound” and converts them into the progenitor cells that, in the case of hair follicles, actually grow hair. So, the idea is to combined Acell with large amounts of adult stem cells taken from the patient’s own body — which is where the Platelet Rich Plasma comes in — and then to inject this concoction into the bald areas of the scalp. The hope is that it will send signals to the adult stem cells lurking in the dormant hair follicles and, in essence, wake them up.
A number of clinics worldwide are now performing this procedure — apparently with some success. The pictures I’ve seen definitely show renewed hair growth but it’s not a panacea. It’s still a messy, bloody business that looks a lot like hair transplant surgery, but many people are more than willing to undergo it.

What is interesting is the proposed mechanism for how this works. In essence, the Acell and PRP combination floods the scalp area with growth factors that play a crucial role in jump-starting these comatose hair follicle stem cells.

This is a lot like what Histogen is proposing with its Hair Stimulating COmplex (HSC) and what Cygenx claims is the basis of its RegenRXx stem cell hair serum. A lot of different research strands are coming togehter, in other words, that point to growth factors as *the* key in basically curing baldness and coming up with a realistic stem cell hair growth treatment.

If this works… and it can be combined with a genuine hair cloning technology like that of RepliCel or Aderans, then we truly might see a realistic baldness cure — and sooner rather than later.

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