Category Archives: Dermal Sheath Cup Cells

The University of Calgary and Jeff Biernaskie

Update: April 2020 — Dr. Jeff Biernaskie and his team (led by graduate student Wisoo Shin) just made an important new discovery. They found that hair loss is caused by progressive dysfunction of message-sending fibroblasts due to aging dermal stem cells. Fully functioning dermal stem cells are required to maintain fibroblast populations. Actual paper is published in Developmental Cell.

Apparently, hair loss research to date has mostly focused on keratinocytes, the cells that make up the bulk of the hair follicle. However, a loss of dermal stem cells prevents production of new fibroblasts. Fibroblasts in the hair follicle are crucial, since they send messages to the keratinocytes. These messages tell the keratinocytes when to divide, which in turn orchestrates the repeating cycles of hair follicle growth and shedding.

These latest findings will also impact research into skin regeneration and wound healing.

Jeff Biernaskie, Fibroblasts and Dermal Hair Stem Cells
Dr. Biernaskie and his team. New findings that aging dermal stem cells and fibroblasts lead to hair loss.

Update: February 2015 — An interesting and fairly technical article on dermal cups and dermal stem cells. Includes a great summary of the recent work by Dr. Jeff Biernaskie as well as a brief mention on Replicel’s approach.


December 2014

Jeff Biernaskie and Dermal Stem Cells

Earlier this month, a team led by Dr. Jeff Biernaskie (from the University of Calgary in Canada) got their hair related research findings published in the journal Developmental Cell.  This research identifies the existence of hair follicle dermal (in the skin) stem cells in adults. These can potentially be targeted to stimulate new hair growth in areas where there has been hair loss.

More detailed information can be read via the Calgary Herald.

Although this was interesting research that was widely covered in the media, I was not too impressed. Besides the fact that this was yet again research only done in mice, it seems like Dr. Biernaskie himself is a professor in the veterinary department! Moreover, most of the articles that I read on this development suggested that these findings could only lead to a potential cure in 10 years at best.

With the seemingly exponential growth in science and technology in recent years, 10-year time frames are usually a bit underwhelming. Nevertheless, after writing my prior post on hair loss research at the University of Bradford, now seemed like a good time to praise a Canadian university. It should be noted that other researchers from Kyoto University in Japan; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US; and Université de Strasbourg in France; were also involved in this research.

More interesting, two days ago Replicel published an article covering this study. They think that these findings validate Replicel’s RHC-01 product, which utilizes dermal sheath cup cells.

Brief Items of Interest, February 2015

A slower month than normal, but still some interesting developments.

— A new study from Japan finds that damaged hair follicles (such as those in androgenic alopecia) have restoration potential that is enhanced by transplantation of  cultured dermal papilla cells (DPCs) and dermal sheath cells (DSCs).  A mixture of DPCs and DSCs was more effective than isolated transplantation of each cell type.   The experiment was done in rats.

— I doubt this statistic, but will post a link anyway: hair transplants in Scotland quadrupled in 2014 compared to 2013 levels.  Wonder what William Wallace would think of modern Scots and modern men in general?  The growth rate for hair transplant demand in Milton Keynes in England was a more believable but still impressive 40 percent in 2014.

— A great article on how we will end organ donation shortages.

— To end on a funny note, Dr. Conrad Murray of Michael Jackson fame plans to open a health and wellness type clinic in Trinidad.  One of the things that he will treat at this clinic is hair loss, which he attributes to nutritional deficiencies per that latter article.  It would not surprise me at all if all these hair cloning and hair multiplication type procedures that are currently largely being tested on rats will end up being tested on human guinea pigs in countries such as Trinidad & Tobago well before human testing is approved in the US or even in Japan.