Interview with Dr. Malcolm Xing

Note:  We are very lucky to have an esteemed researcher answering our questions and I hope to keep the comments to this post at least somewhat serious (unlike the case with most of the recent posts).  If you have any questions for Dr. Xing, please add them in a comment to this post and I will collect the best ones and send them to him one more time in a few days if there is sufficient interest.

About one week ago, a very interesting article was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B (they actually have “A”, “B”, and “C” versions — with the “B” version being connected to Biology). The title of this article was “Cytokine loaded layer-by-layer ultrathin matrices to deliver single dermal papilla cells for spot-by-spot hair follicle regeneration.”  For the non-scientist type people that most of the world is composed of, an easier to understand and more succinct title was postulated in an article in Chemistry Journal: “Re-seeding hairlines with stem cells.”  I have always felt that the scalp is exactly like a garden and can be entirely reseeded in the future once scientists figure out the right method of doing so.

The approach to cure hair loss that was taken by this study’s authors is quite unique (see interview below for more on that).  Moreover, this research entails a multinational collaboration between Canadian (led by Dr. Malcolm Xing) and Chinese (led by Dr. Zhi-Qi Hu) researchers.  I was happy to finally get news on hair loss research in China, a country that I have neglected in my Worldwide Hair Loss Research page, primarily due to language issues and my lack of effort and motivation in trying to comb through Chinese search engines such as Baidu.

I wanted to discuss this journal article last week, but was unsure about devoting a whole post to it.  Then I decided to try my luck and see if either Dr. Xing or Dr. Hu were willing to conduct an interview with me via e-mail.  Luckily Dr. Xing was willing, despite being on vacation this past week.  I had to delay this post until he responded. Please do not e-mail him yourself as he is probably swamped with inquiries related to this paper in addition to ongoing other research at his lab.  You can post questions in the comments section of this post, and after a few days I will send them all in to him in bulk.  He has told me that he can reply to some more of my questions, but I am unwilling to bother him more than one more time.

Interview with Dr. Xing

Question 1) How applicable is your mouse model to a human model? Can you try this experiment on human dermal papilla cells without needing any official government approval (either in Canada or China or in both)?

Answer 1) Mouse model only provides us some primary support for further study in human cells and finally in a human model.  No, we need official government approval.

Question 2) I assume you only worked on mice-to-mice DPC transplantation based on the image I saw of your work in Chemistry World magazine, but I have not read your whole paper as it is not yet publicly available on Google Scholar.  Or did you also move human dermal papilla cells to mice?

Answer 2) Not yet for human dermal papilla cells.

Question 3) There has been an ever increasing amount of research done on dermal papilla cells in the hair loss world over the past few years e.g.,

Have you seen any work that is similar to yours?  Any that is different, but that still interests you?  Have you ever tried to collaborate with the Rendl lab?

Answer 3) Yes, there are similar works to ours.  Only difference in what we did is just to give the dermal papilla cell very thin clothing for cellular function tuning.  We didn’t get a chance to contact Dr. Rendl, but we are open to all kinds of collaboration.

Question 4 and 5) Dr. Jeff Biernaskie from Canada (see and a company called Replicel (also from Canada — see have both done work on dermal sheath cup cells.  Can you describe the difference in working with dermal sheath cup cells versus dermal papilla cells?

Why are some researchers focusing on the former, and some on the latter?

Answer 4) and 5) They are cellular biological based and we are biomaterials oriented.  We are biomaterial engineers and study the hair regeneration from biomaterials and nanotechnology perspective to create a bioengineering microenvironment for cell growth.  [My note: Dr. Xing provided separate answers to my two related questions, but I it seems like he did not address the difference between choosing the dermal papilla versus dermal sheath cup cell areas of research.  Perhaps there is not much difference there, and to be honest, I did not try to find out prior to asking that question].

Question 6) Have you had a chance to look at Dr. Colin Jahoda’s work (he has covered dermal papilla cells as far back as the early1980s)? He has recently coauthored papers on 3D papilla spheroids ( and it seems like this is one way of restoring dermal papilla inductivity. Your method of ‘nutritious nano-clothing’ seems like a totally different approach and perhaps has an even higher chance of success.  However, I am not a scientist and can not differentiate between the work of all the researchers that I have mentioned in this e-mail thus far.  Has your method ever been tried by other scientists?  Do you think it is easier than what Dr. Jahoda is attempting?

Answer 6) Actually, Dr. Jahoda’s work gave us the inspiration for this study.  In our another new work (to be submitted), we already combined currently published nano-clothing with 3D spheroids for hair regeneration.  It’s very difficult for me to say which one is easier.
I enclosed several publications from our lab about nano-clothing and spheroids for tissue engineering.

Question 7 and 8) The ending of the article about your work in Chemistry World magazine has the following sentence: “Xing is currently trying to move the technology from the bench to the bedside.”  What will it take to get this goal realized?  Would you have to undergo clinical trials in a similar manner to the US (or in a similar manner to what Replicel is doing in Canada/Japan)?

If so, it would easily take five years, by which time I think a cure for hair loss will already be here.  Replicel and its Japanese partner Shiseido themselves are approaching final clinical trials (in Japan, the government is speeding up the clinical trial process so many US companies are moving there to conduct final trials).  Do you have confidence that your work can come to the bedside before the end of 2020?  Would you need funding to get this work moving along?

Answer 7 and 8) Yes, we are trying to apply this trial in China. China has similar regulations to the US.  Currently, several Chinese industry partners show their interests in collaborations.  There potential partners have already biomedical products approved by China FDA.  Right now, I am also looking forward to the industry collaboration from Canada.

Not sure for these final trials before the end of 2020, but we are working at this goal.  Yes, we need funds from government and industry to move this application forward.

Question 9) How did you decide to include fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) in your experiment?  There seem to be other fibroblast growth factors (e.g., FGF-1, FGF-7, FGF-10) that promote hair growth too, but I assume you preferred FGF-2)?

Answer 9) FGF-2 is the preferred growth factor from our clinic collaborator; however, we can put more than one GF in the nano-clothing.

Question 10) On my blog, I have a page listing key global centers of hair loss research (  I have neglected research in China for the most part due to limited information availability.  I only include centers/universities/labs that devote significant resources to hair loss research and are not just coming out with one hair loss research related study every few years.  Do you think that Nanfang Hospital of Southern Medical University in China has any department devoted to hair loss research?  If you know of any other Chinese universities or institutions that are undertaking regular research on hair loss, please let me know and I will add it to my page on global centers of hair loss research.

Answer 10) As to my knowledge, a team of more than 10 clinical doctors is working on hair loss in the Dept. Plastic Surgery, Nanfang Hospital.  I just came back from that department for the collaboration when I got your email.

Question 11) On your tissue engineering website ( there is nothing about hair loss research, although the site has not been updated recently.  How serious is your lab about hair loss research versus all the other types of tissue engineering research that you focus on?

Answer 11) We didn’t get the chance to update the web but we have more than 6 researchers work on this theme.

Thank you!

Update: Found an interesting article covering some of Dr. Xi’s work in the medical field.

111 thoughts on “Interview with Dr. Malcolm Xing”

  1. Unlike the case with virtually all my other posts during the past almost 2.5 years where I have censored/banned less than one percent of comments, I will be far more proactive in banning comments in this post. Any insults or pointless comments (e.g., “all news items are useless unless they lead to a cure by 2017”) or entirely unrelated-to-the-subject comments (mostly one guy doing this as we all know very well) will probably be deleted. At some point, I may also delete past comments from several of you who have repeated yourself 100 plus times, especially if your comments have been entirely unrelated to the subject matter in a post. So you are wasting your time and mine. We should be glad that an esteemed research scientist is willing to answer our questions. I never had luck getting Dr. Christiano or Dr. Cotsarelis to ever answer my questions (although I did get a generic automated response from the latter that I posted on this blog in the past). Somewhat unrelated comments are ok (e.g., general discussions on stem cells and biology, on other companies working with dermal papilla cells or stem cells, links to news items that I have missed and you need to make me aware of etc…), but I am a bit sick of so many totally useless comments lately.

    1. And yes this work is in mice and will only be useful if some government or other allows faster human testing. Let’s try to focus on the positive aspects if possible.

  2. Thanks Admin, really a great post. I just want to know if Dr. Xing’s team can regenerate dermal papilla cell then will it be considered as a cure for all hair loss sufferers ? I mean will a norwood 6/7 patients can get all of his hair back ? I’m sorry for my english as english is not my native language. Thanks a lot for this GREAT BLOG.

    1. Great post article admin! It’s nice to have a well known scientist checking out the forum. What is his confidence level that this will be able to work in humans since most mouse models tend to fail when tried on humans. Is there risk of tumors with these cells?

    2. Admin I remember you saying you had another post you were going to add. Is that a good one too? I could use some good news, had a bad day today

  3. Cheers admin, this is a wonderful update!

    And as Dr. Malcolm Xing our highest regards for you and your fellow researchers! We support your endeavor!

  4. Can you ask Dr. Xing, if these cells were ever able to regrow hair on top of the scalp, can they also be used to regrow hair on scar tissue particularly strip scar from HT?

    1. Mike, I doubt he is an authority on that since he does not perform hair transplants, but can ask him if there are not too many other questions. My feeling is yes you will be able to grow hair there, but first we have to wait and see if this method is tested in humans.

  5. Could this procedure’s results be permanent, or is it more likely that patients would require multiple applications of dermal papilla cells to maintain results?

  6. Great work yet again admin.

    Would be useful to know how much funding they require. As you know hellouser has offered his experience to run a campaign.

  7. Nice post. I think the most important yet complicated task is to get direct answers from researchers. When we don’t get such answers and updates from them we usually lose hope and feel that they lack seriousness.

    Your efforts are much appreciated admin. Keep up the good work. I believe that after all the research and dedication, by 2020 you might be able to come up with the real cure lol.

  8. Great,

    This is another appraoch to treat hair loss, and a pretty good one.
    Researchers are tackling it now from any angle they can think of. It might be that from 2017 on, every year a new treatment emerges.

    If the previous one failed for your specific case, you might benefit from the next one in line.

  9. With the aging beard hairs are thinning too, maybe aga has an effect on beard hair over the time i dont know. Can you ask him, if these method can be applied on other body parts like face to grow beard hair?
    And could beardless men become beard hair by using this method?

  10. Does this technique create a new hair follicle or just re awake our own follicle ?

    The problem is that they do not have enough money and need funding. I mean we are lucky to have replicel that has enough funding and good researchers !

  11. Everyone doing the same method as Replicel, taking hair from the back and harvesting the cell to reinjected it in the scalp.
    So I guess this method will work we just have to wait Shiseido 2 or 3 more years.
    The big question is, it is safe? How can we know that 10 years after the operation it doesn’t cause serious health diseases?

  12. Nice post. Good leg work admin. What I like about you is that you do far more then just have an open forum and just talk about propecia and hair transplants. You are way better then that…anyway, question is, will his team continue to attempt to make significant strides or are they in slow motion until more funding arrives?

  13. Encouraging post. It is great that there are many different researchers approaching this problem at different angles. What a complex issue. Hopefully it s just a matter of time. Seems like a lot of people are working the problem.

  14. I think that investment one has to show efficacy in a human subject. In a Single ONE human subject.. it would be far more convincing a single human successful experiment than in a thousand rats. So, my question is: knowing from mice that it is safe couldn’t be possible and cheaper and faster to do a one person trial?

  15. Makes sense from human beings interests.. not from mice’s.. lol

    Although, now they’ve cure for all thinkable diseases and we – stupid human beings – have none!

    I know that, Ddog.. My point is (after animal model studies have demonstrated safety) shouldn’t be much more faster, easier and cheaper to do a single human subject test to verify efficacy and aiming to impress and convince investors.. I mean, that is the major problem, aside from the regulatory insane control by governmental authorities, that slows down and inhibits, even locks all this process. No big company will ever put money on something unless there is a significant proof that it will work. They will not risk money. In my view, researches and scientists, though competent and intelligent, are really not good at that, enticing or elicit moneymakers to bet on them.

    Why not to try in one person only first, for saving money, time, etc??

    Liz Parrish is doing that, in herself. If it works, it works and she’ll know it much faster. Besides, it shows confidence, that she really relies on it, to the point that she is trying in herself.

  16. Admin, I’ll change my question a little bit… you could ask dr. Xing (I’m sure you won’t) this:

    Dr. Xing, are you or any of your research team balding or bald?
    (I’m sure the probability is great) Have you or any of them never thought of testing your procedure on one of yourselves? (Off course, after knowing for sure that it is safe, which I suppose you already know, based on your animal studies).

  17. If I was mouse I would be rocking Fabio style hair and everyone on this forum haha. Good to know another player is in the race. Only thing that sucks is that this is still in thr very early mouse stage trial so this probably won’t hit your local derma clinic till 2025 IF it shows success in human trials. Great treatment for any male born today. I’m twenty years they will have some kick ass treatments 🙂

  18. sweet, admin i like the part where you said basically ‘regardless of your success its gonna be here in 5 years are you ready for that?

    It makes me happy to sense haste anxiety in the competition.
    We get to see the cure of an ancient disease along side the list of slow pokes that lost the race. I think replicel is going to steal the cake judging by their own words

  19. Hey (maybe something for Admin),

    Is there anybody who has an overview of all ‘upcoming’ treatments for hair loss and countries where these treatments might be released???

    I understand companies give estimated deadlines so things definitely might change in the meantime, some products might fail trials, some might be released in another country etcetera, however it would be nice for all of us to have a kind of a list where we can hold on to for the moment. A list which can be updated by Admin for instance.

    Lots of us have problems with maintaining our current hair situation, so some scheme of future release dates might be an extra support for us, while we keep losing ground. It may help some with their treatment planning.

    Data like, company name, product name, current trial phase, year of release and country of release,… would be nice to know. Some data might be unknown, but that’s no problem. The country of release for instance has implications for travel costs, some of us might need to fly the entire planet to get a treatment.

    I think now everybody searches for himself on the internet for these data, which is not very efficient.
    And I kinda only trust this blog as a reliable source of information.

  20. I would like a better explanation of the differences between using cup cells vs papilla. The biomaterials vs biological. It is not clear what the exact differences are. Also any unique challenges they faced using bio materials that were not expected using the biological approach (given there is a difference).

    The reason for my question is that I suspect the efficiency of the 2 approaches will likely differ in a significant manner.

    1. Hey for the most part I am still flexible and people can post a lot of what they want…just wanted to be stern so as to prevent this thread becoming about JAK inhibitors or Finasteride side effects:-)

  21. I just hope this guys get funding, all of them.. Some big company gets interested in their studies. But as I said, it’s really difficult, because, frankly, success in animal studies doesn’t let nobody excited anymore. That’s why I believe a single successful result in reverting baldness in a human being would be enough to get all the world’s attention, it would be a thrill, the money would chase them rather than the opposite.

      1. i posted that :’) just a little harmless fun. couldn’t resist. Love coming here to read the comments regularly, despite its unrelated and Nasa is repetitive i kind of agree with him…not so much about the date though aha

  22. NASA Hahahaha dude you crack me up bro! You know what f it! I am joining the NASA TRAIN 🙂 Jak inhibitors 2016 cure for us. It will work. To be honest after reading this article and other researchers doing mouse studies I have to agree with nasa that jak has the best chance for mpb. At least Christiano tried on on AA patients and not on a mouse.

    2016 guys! No more mouse studies and only focus on trials where men with mpb are being tested:)

    Samumed baby! The Norwood crusher will be our main focus this year. Watch them, they got something good. Nw 4 to nw 2 regrowth 🙂

  23. I don’t know why it is so bad to have posts like Mjones and Nasa. It gives us something to read until the next post. It is engaging, and sometimes fun. If it wasn’t for such posts, I wouldn’t come here on a daily basis. I enjoy using this forum.

    1. Yes agreed those guys make it interesting, but I think Nasa must have repeated himself 20-30 times in one post recently so I wanted a temporary halt.

  24. Nice post admin. One possible question I’d like to hear asked of Dr Xing is how aware he is of what’s currently going on in the field with regards to wounding and regeneration and what are his thoughts on that? Luis Garza had some very exciting news a few months ago and of course there’s always Dr Cots and Follica. Both sound much further along, considering Follica have done human studies, than his work.

    Funding wise, would this impact his work?


      1. Hahaha thanks guys, I try to make our situation and this forum interesting till a new post arrives. It’s all about laughing and a little teasing to pass the time. Plus conspiracy theories to stir the pot a bit lol.

        Once again thanks admin for this site:)It really is a great place to help me get rid of hair liss related stress and to give me hope that something might come out soon. Unfortunately I think this Dr xiu or whatever his name is 10 yrs away from anything released. No way he can expedite from mouse model to your local derma clinic in 5 yrs. Fingers crossed but it looks like me need a magic genie to cure hair loss

        1. My big hope is that China, Japan, Mexico any many other such countries allow for short cuts in the coming years that lead to faster cure development. Also possible that someone in the hair loss world will be like Liz Parish and go to South America to get injected with a potential treatment. Biohacking labs are also proliferating all over the place it seems, and I might write a post on that soon if it is relevant to our cause.

      2. True and I am a little hesitant posting this but I hope Admin gives me the benefit of the doubt but there was another patent filed by Cots for wounding/regeneration:

        At the close of the year, they snuck it in.

        It’s a big assumption but say, for instance, Follica happened to release some pictures/results this year – and an article I posted in another post here hints at that possibility – it would have repercussions surely for not only Dr Xing but others as well. 2016 could end up being a surprising year…in a good way 🙂

  25. @admin what ever happened to Alexey Terkish (spelled wrong probably)? Did he and his team not cure hair loss? I thought he did but it just hasnt been tested yet

    1. Hey Matt. Supposedly he has a good protocol and proof of curing hair loss. But since his treatment works for hsir cloning they will just put this solution on the shelf and wait 10 to 15 yrs before they take the next step 🙂 gotta love the progression of treatments lol

  26. Happy new year guys.. May this year bring all the hair that we once had… May this year we go into the pools… May this year we walk in bright sunshine… May this year we start buying combs… May this year we say hello to the Barber… May this year we say good bye to toppik.. May this year we play in the rain.. May this year NASA stops jak ing off and spray jak on… May the hair be with us..

  27. Nech uz niekto povie niejaku novinku ze kto do toho vidi ze kedy bude liek .dakujem lebo uz my sibe stych vlasov nemozem si pomoct som zufaly a vzdy sa pitam preco prave ja nebavi ma nic vzdy rozmyslam co mam robit ze preco neje liek nechapem vsetko sa to tak taha nechapem tomu vsak uz viac krat pisaly ze plesina bude len spomienka ale kolko ludy sa trapi nechapem kde je problem rad by som sa dozvedel ze kedy niaky zdroj z vnutra keby povedal ano liek bude 2017 to by my stacilo ale to su len asi fami vsak uz od 2008 sa pise ze budeme do piatich rokov klonovat a nic nechapem tomu miliony ludom by sa lepsie dychalo aspon mne osobne tak ma to trapi ze az dakujem to je moj prispevok Slovakia

  28. I like how this post received the least amount of replies lol. Strange how we now gravitate to only treatments that are proven on humans and won’t waste much time on mouse models. Exciting stuff for sure and I hope Sr xu brings this to commercial market but for us balding guys we need to focus on what is already on clinical trials : samumed, histogen, replicel, follica and jak, possibly my fellow greek bio tech theracell. If all these crap out then we can put more emphasis on Dr Xu follicum, rapunzel etc.

  29. This received less replies because the admin basically told us not to comment outside the box. Not really much more to say about this article.

  30. Excellent post admin! I just have a question about SM and Jak.

    SM04554: If the new law passes which most people think it will. Would SM be able to skip phase 3 since they’ve got biomarkers or something (I don’t know what I’m talking about really) and get to release the product late 2016?

    Jak: Is it being tested for MPB or for AA? If it’s being tested for AA, then why, cause I think I read somewhere that they have “cured” like 1 or 2 patients already.

    1. That is way I said that an overview of near-future treatments would be nice for us to hold on to. Especially when and where the treatments probably probably might be released.

      SM04554 Samumed during 2016…?
      HSC Histogen ending 2017…?
      RCH-01 Replicel during 2018…?
      JAK Rapunzel during 2020…?
      Etcetera …!

  31. In my opinion AGA is as mystery as one of the 7 wonders of the world, it’s so complex no one came up with any new treatment in the past decade, I’m close to name the the 8th wonder of the world.

    1. No that’s not right. It’s the simplest organ on the body. The reason it is taking Lon’s is because people started making research in the past 10 years while for other diseases for the past 20+ years. Plus they need to go with the rules like for doing an experiment on a mouse they need to wait 9 moths or so to get the green light

      1. who waits 9 monts just to test on bloody mice! I think they’re running secret experiments on people with AGA and if it turns out well, they start the formal process.

  32. Some years ago CygenX was working on a stem cell treatment / serum for hair loss.
    Nowadays their name is Regenexx and they do not research / offer any hair loss treatments anymore.

    Wonder what happened there … problems with funding … failed trials … hair loss again not seen as significant ?!

    1. Hi Nima. I never said either of those treatments will be a cure. I think one of them or all of them will hit the market before 2020. None of these will be a full cure to give you teenage hair. I think it will be MUCH better in regrowth and maintenance than rogaine a d propecia. I believe samumed will be the first to market. I am only guessing here bit I think samumed will be able to take us up 2 Norwood levels. Think of it as rogaine on steroids. Replicel and sishedo are still mystery to me since they have been stalling but from what they claim they seem to be very good regrowth and stopping of loss. A cure would be a one stop shop treatment that will grow back all your hair and you will never need to take meds again for mpb. We are years away from that unless sishedo can regenerate all 50 thousand hair follicles on the top of our heads with dp cells and stop further loss.

      1. It doesn’t work like that. First one has too show significant proof of a real breakthrough.. something quite similar to what was presented by Dr. Christiano in AA cases. If she had presented something like that in a AGA patient, A SINGLE ONE case slick-bald to full-thick-head-of-hair, I’m more than sure that she’d have a line of big-shot companies/investors in a frenzy offering loads of money to secure the right to commercialize it. One has just to remember that AA affects a very small percentage of people whereas AGA affects like over 70% of men over forty (at some degree). So, there’s no way to compare the attractiveness between both of them.

        In my view, Histogen has yet to show better evidence of a treatment that really could be a game changer in reversing baldness.

    1. sorry, but with that ONE picture, I would be interested in shorting their stock, not investing in their debt or preferred shares. If they wanted money, and really had something, they’d include multiple pictures of that subject and not just one from a clearly manipulated point of view. Hope my view is terribly wrong though.

  33. Happly new year admin . I would like to write an article about wound healing protocol and 21 century cure act law. Best wishes to everyone may God show us little mercy and good news this year.

  34. I Dont want to be negative or anything but there will not be a cure for a minumum of 10 years, Better treatments maybe.
    That isnt so bad considering it will stop your hairloss until a cure hits the market.

  35. I don’t want to be negative but we have a new treament in 2017 and another new treatment in 2018….I’m sorry.

  36. God hear u mjones, yes u are right the cure must be a one time thing otherwise it won’t be cure but still I really hope shiseido, replicel and samumed can bring us a high efficiency treatment cause it will be disappointing to wait for years and in the end get something thats just a bit better than propecia or minoxidil.shiseidos claim to have a hair loss cure in 2018 is pretty bold and I like that but we can’t relay on it till we actually see the visual results .

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