Category Archives: Colin Jahoda

Tissue Engineering of Hair Follicles using a Biomimetic Approach

In 2004, Aderans Research Institute filed a patent (granted in 2009) titled “Tissue engineered biomimetic hair follicle graft“. The invention entailed an improved scaffold that would mimic the architecture of the native hair follicle. The ultimate aim for this invention (after further improvements) would be hair multiplication. However, for a number of reasons, the much hyped Aderans liquidated its research institute in 2013.

In the above patent filing, the most cited author when it comes to reference material was Durham University (UK)’s Dr. Colin Jahoda. To be specific, 10 of his past papers are cited: ranging from this one from 1981 to a 2001 paper on trans-species hair growth induction. The industrious Dr. Jahoda has published numerous other major research papers since 2001, some of which I have covered on this blog in the past.

Biomimetic Engineering of Human Hair

Tissue Engineering of Hair
Engineered human hair growing on a mouse.

Several  days ago, a groundbreaking new research paper was published in Nature Communications (h/t reader “John Doe”). The title of this paper was: “Tissue engineering of human hair follicles using a biomimetic developmental approach”. Very similar to the title of the earlier mentioned patent.

Moreover, one of the main co-authors of this latest 2018 work is Durham University’s Dr. Colin Jahoda. The other authors are all researchers from US-based Columbia University’s Department of Dermatology, led by the renowned Dr. Angela Christiano.

The conclusion of this research is one that should make everyone enthused:

“The ability to regenerate an entire hair follicle from cultured human cells will have a transformative impact on the medical management of different types of alopecia, as well as chronic wounds, which represent major unmet medical needs.”

Note that this latest paper was submitted in May 2018, accepted in October 2018, and finally published in December 2018. So the Jahoda, Christiano et al. team’s current research is at least seven months ahead of what is described in the paper.

3D-Spheroid Cultures to 3D-Printed Molds

I have covered 3D-spheroids and related structures and scaffolds (to help brand new hair follicles grow from scratch) numerous times on this blog. This area of research has seemed to be the holy grail for scientists trying to succeed at hair multiplication. Just like DHT elimination and restarting Wnt/β-catenin signaling have been the holy grails when it comes to preventing further hair loss and regrowing existing miniaturized hair.

Numerous scientists such as Dr. Colin Jahoda and Dr. Takashi Tsuji have focused on research 3D-spheroids and 3D-culturing of dermal papilla cells to grow new hair follicles for many years. However, in this latest study, it seems like the scientists have turned there focus to 3D-printing (or 3D-bioprinting). They even give the name of the specific 3D printer that they used during this experimentation.

The Jahoda, Christian et. al team created 3D-printed hair follicle molds as the key component of the experiment. The scientists used a biomimetic approach to generate human hair follicles within human skin constructs (HSCs). They emulated human biology via the 3D organization of cells in the hair follicle micro-environment using 3D-printed molds. The actual paper is very technical.

Some interesting quotes from the paper:

“In the future, 3D-bioprinting technology operating at a single cell resolution may permit the inclusion of other cell types, such as stem cells and melanocytes, to generate cycling and pigmented HFs.”

“We recently addressed this issue by 3D-spheroid culture of cells and thereby restored 22% of the hair inductive DPC gene signature. Subsequently, other groups also reported the use of this method to induce HFs in mice, albeit inefficiently. To enhance the efficiency of hair induction properties, in this study, we combined genetic and microenvironmental reprogramming strategies by overexpressing the MR gene Lef-1 in combination with spontaneous DPC spheroid formation in the HSCs, which resulted in 70% success rate of HF formation ex vivo, compared to only 19% with the empty vector-transfected DPCs.”

“Using 3D-printing approaches, our goal is to engineer HFs as follicular units and/or in desired patterns that can be integrated with surgical robots and facilitate effective hair transplantation surgery.”


Brief Items of Interest, March 2016

Hair loss news first:

Since the last “brief items of interest” post a month ago, there have been numerous important developments in the hair loss world. Some involve renowned researchers that have already been covered a few times on this blog before.

— Meiji Seika Pharma (Japan) and Dr. Takashi Tsuji, head of the Laboratory for Organ Regeneration at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology (Japan), have entered into an important partnership.  Their goal is “to develop treatments to regrow lost hair.”  Apparently 12 million adult men in Japan suffer from hair loss. The partnership will focus on regenerative medicine rather than on any kind of drug development.  Japan’s new laws will also help speed up clinical trials in the regenerative medicine sector.

— Also in Japan, a new article on Shiseido mostly covers things we already know and confirms that they will start trials this year. However, the ending is of interest: “The fee to receive the treatment will be at least 100,000 yen ($887).”  A lot cheaper than I expected.

— I have covered Dr. Colin Jahoda and his 3D spheroid culturing of dermal papilla cells on this blog before.  Mr. Jahoda has been a legend in the hair loss research world since the 1980s, but it seems like he may have reached the end of his best years in terms of research.  Thankfully, the Chinese are continuing from where he left off.  A team from Southern Medical University (China) and Dr. Malcolm Xing from Canada have published an interesting update on their work with 3D spheroids.  It seems like they have improved somewhat on Dr. Jahoda’s work with a novel hanging-drop method. I am glad that they are continuing this area of crucial research.  Note that Dr. Xing gave Dr. Jahoda a good deal of credit when I interviewed the former.

— Another renowned researcher that I have covered before, Dr. Elaine Fuchs, just published an important article summarizing how stem cells get activated to produce new hair.  Forkhead box C1 (FOXC1) is a key transcriptional regulator of hair follicle stem cell activity and bulge maintenance.  Also see another summary of the same study.  One of the interesting conclusions of the article seems to imply that premature hair loss is also correlated with premature hair greying.  Something I have noticed in many people.  “Hair follicle stem cells influence the behavior of melanocyte stem cells, which co-inhabit the bulge niche,” explains Fuchs. “Thus, when the numbers of hair follicle stem cells declined with age, so too did the numbers of melanocyte stem cells, resulting in premature greying of whatever hairs were left.”

— Tiny Singapore might have a stagnant and small population, but they still care about hair loss.  Their scientists (plus others from Stanford) recently published a paper covering the gene Axin2 and autocrine Wnt/β-catenin signaling.  Complicated stuff to understand for a non-scientist such as myself.

A new cream based hair loss treatment from Yeditepe University called Kelopesia was just announced out of the blue. Their presentation is amateurish, and as soon as I hear the words “stem cells” along with “hair” these days my scam radar turns on unless the company or institution has been involved in the hair loss research field for many years.  Anyway, these guys are using foreskins for this treatment. Product will supposedly be released in a month.  If it was not a university, I would say a 100 percent certainty this is a scam.  I still feel that this is going to be a major disappointment.

Follicum press release:  successful Phase 1 safety trials.

— Antonio Conte’s hair transplant seems to have turned out to be pretty good.

Christopher1’s experience with Kerastem thread worth following. Under my last post someone posted a comment that the treatment did not work and costs a lot.

— At least once a year, we in the US get to read a story about a major Rogaine theft.  Invariably, the thief is bald and this is emphasized by the media.  I suspect all of these bald Rogaine thieves are selling most of the stolen cans rather than using their contents on their own scalps.

And now on to medical items of interest:

I will shorten this section for this month since the hair loss one was so lengthy.

— An interesting recent video interview/discussion with Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Dr. Bil Andrews and Elizabeth (Liz) Parrish (all three of whom I have covered on this blog before):

— Another recent one with just Dr. Bill Andrews:

— And another recent one with just Liz Parrish:

How long until we can print human faces in the lab?