Category Archives: Anthony Atala

Brief Items of Interest, February 2016

Hair loss news first:

— Thanks to commentator “nosyu” from Japan for posting a link with news from today regarding hair and skin focused Japanese company Adjuvant Cosmetics, the renowned Dr. Takashi Tsuji (RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology) and Organ Technologies getting into some kind of partnership agreement.  The Japanese to English translation did not work well enough for me to gather all the details. Make sure to do a  search on this blog for Dr. Tsuji to read past posts that I have written about him.

— Since I started writing this blog, of all the researchers and companies involved in the hair loss world, Replicel has by far and away provided us with the most regular updates.  This past month has been no exception.  Here is a new video with Replicel’s CEO Lee Buckler starting his presentation at 16:11.  The presentation was part of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)’s “Investing in Japan” conference in Toronto, Canada that took place on January 29th 2016.  The focus of the conference was on Japan’s booming regenerative medicine market.  Lee also discusses Replicel’s partner Shiseido.  From the same conference, here is a pdf of Lee’s presentation.  And finally, here is a new letter from the CEO.

— The latest issue of Nature Biology has an interesting article titled “Biotechs target stagnant baldness market.”  Only half the article is visible for free online, but you can find some hair loss forum threads where people are posting links to the full article.  Some of those links came up with security warnings on my browser, so I am not posting them here.  My favorite and at the same time least favorite sentence from the article:  “It’s been 25 years since Propecia (finasteride), from Merck of Kenilworth, New Jersey, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992.

— Study from Japan suggests that COL17A1 (collagen gene) could be a new target for therapy in preventing hair loss.

Kerastem clinical trial page was updated at the end of January 2016.  Go under the locations section of that page to see if there is a clinic near you where you can volunteer.  US only for now it seems.

Excellent new article summarizing latest hair loss treatment options.  One of the co-authors is the famous Dr. Antonella Tosti.

Polichem (which is working on a topical Finasteride product called P-3074) was purchased by Spain’s Almirall.   Also see this new positive study from Italy on P-3074.

— Did Dr. Bernard Arocha just perform the first ever documented ARTAS beard transplant?

Irish men are increasingly opting for hair transplants.  Is a reduction in alcohol consumption next?

And now on to medical items of interest:

Partisanship in the US hurting 21st Century Cures Act.  Thank goodness for Japan, Canada and probably some other countries by now.

— I have discussed Dr. Anthony Atala and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine several times on this blog before.  This week, both were widely covered by the media due to the completion of their 3D bioprinter that can make bone, cartilage and muscle (a culmination of 10 years of work it seems)!  Full journal article here.  No mention about hair in there, but a Canadian team’s 3D bioprinter related article from 2014 mentions the eventual feasibility of adding hair follicles to the new skin.  Some quotes from Dr. Atala here.

UK scientists get gene editing go ahead.  Now western scientists may become less prone to criticize the Chinese too much as they did last year.

Oldest heart transplant recipient dies 33 years after getting a new heart.  Amazing story.  In another article I read, his son said that he died from kidney problems and still had no heart problems.

— If you have older family members that you want to live longer, you might want to try to find a sketchy doctor who can help remove their senescent worn out cells without government approval.  Or ask Liz Parrish for advice on South American clinics.

A major boost for cryonics.

A major boost for cancer treatment.

— This week “New Scientist” had an interesting article titled “First fully approved off-the-shelf stem cells launch in Japan.”  You have to register to read it, so here is the pasted version.

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Several weeks ago, someone on the BTT hair loss forums posted about two important hair loss research related patents filed by inventors from the Bethesda, Maryland based Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (a government/military funded entity) in the USA.

The patents pertain to hair follicle neogenesis (regeneration of tissue) via skin substitutes made entirely from cultured human cells. The first was filed in 2011, and the second updated one was filed in 2014.  The three inventors for both patents are listed in the following order (which does not necessarily imply order of importance of contribution):

  1. Rajesh Thangapazham
  2. Thomas Darling
  3. Shaowei Li

All three of these researchers are PhD holders, and you can see their names on the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Dermatology Department Faculty Section (FYI — this is the first time in my life that I have used a domain name ending in .mil).  Of these three, only Dr. Rajesh Thangapazham seems to have a presence on Linkedin, and his work history related to hair and skin regeneration related research is quite impressive.  His recent achievement per their website is also very encouraging and suggests that he might be the lead inventor:

“Rajesh Thangapazham, Ph.D., a Research Assistant Professor in the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology, USU, was recently selected as a recipient of a 2015 Dermatology Foundation Research Award. Thangapazham will receive the Foundation’s Women’s Health Career Development Award for his project, “Genes Regulating Hair Follicle Neogenesis, Growth, and Development.” Thangapazham and colleagues have shown de novo hair follicle neogenesis in skin substitutes made entirely with cultured human cells. In his proposed work, Thangapazham will investigate molecules hypothesized to enhance the induction of human hair follicles to restore skin function and appearance. This major advance in skin regeneration is predicted to improve skin stability, healing and ultimately lead to a viable clinical strategy for restoring hair.”

These three doctors (along with others that included Dr. George Cotsarelis) published an important paper related to this work in 2014.  This paper was titled “Dissociated human dermal papilla cells induce hair follicle neogenesis in grafted dermal-epidermal composites.

It is quite amazing that myself and virtually all other hair loss forum members  missed looking into work being done by the US government and military with regards to hair and skin generation research.  In spite of articles such as this one from last year!  Over the decades, the US military and the US Department of Defense have been responsible for numerous technological breakthroughs. Almost always, a lot of their research is shrouded in secrecy for years.  Sometimes, their initial discoveries take decades before moving from in-house use to public use  (e.g., the Internet).

Besides housing the above mentioned Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences,  Bethesda is also home to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the National Institute of Health and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine.  Moreover, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine is in nearby  Fort Detrick.

When it comes to a hair loss cure, will largely unheralded Bethesda beat out places such as New York, San Diego and Tokyo that are currently heavily over-represented in the world map of key hair loss research centers?

Finally, it seems like North Carolina based Wake Forest University and Dr. Anthony Atala are significantly involved with the US army’s research wing concerning regenerative medicine, and I have updated by recent post on hair loss research at Wake Forest University.  At the moment, I am thinking that the new topical hair loss treatment study at Wake Forest is related to an in-house developed product or to a product developed at one of the military research centers in Bethesda (but not anything related to the hair follicle neogenesis invention discussed in this post).