Hair Grown in Pigs from Human Dermal Papilla Cells

We regularly hear about research involving hair growth in rats, mice, rabbits, hamsters and macaques. However, I have never read about scientists managing to successfully grow human hair in pigs. Until now.

Note that pig (porcine) skin has striking similarities to human skin. Thanks to reader “Bryan” for first posting about the below new study.

Hair growth in pigs.
Hair growth in pigs from human dermal papilla cell injections. Source: Experimental Dermatology.

Hair Growth in Pigs from Human Dermal Papilla Cells

In April 2023, Epibiotech CEO Jong-Hyuk Sung co-wrote an interesting letter in Experimental Dermatology. It entails his team’s success in growing hair in pigs via the injection of human dermal papilla cells (hDPCs). The initial phase of this work on pigs was also discussed in Epibiotech’s past updates.

Note that Mr. Sung has published a number of important hair related studies for more than a decade. In November 2022, I covered his highly interesting new summary paper on effective cell therapy for hair regeneration. He even responded to some reader comments in that post.

Hairy Pig
A hairy pig rendition.

Coming back to this latest paper, the conclusion was that intradermal hDPC injections in pigs increased the hair follicle number, thickness and angiogenesis. Moreover, a single injection of hDPCs seems to be effective and survives for more than 3 months in clinical study.

Key quote (slightly reworded):

“Though numerous past research findings indicate the hair growth promoting effects of human DPCs in rodents, preclinical or clinical application alone has not been reported in pigs until now.”

The research team injected hDPCs into the backs of three pigs across six sites. After just one injection of hDPCs, hair follicle numbers increased for three months. And hair follicle thickness was increased for one month.

Interestingly, there was no difference in hair follicle quantity and thickness between low- and high-dose delivery of human dermal papilla cells. Also of note, the number of microvessels around the hair follicles was increased in the hDPC-treated group.

Normally (after 10 years at this), I would not write an entire post for such a one-off animal model study. However, two factors made me reconsider:

  1. The involvement of Epibiotech’s CEO in the research.
  2. Considering the fact that this is the first ever report on human dermal papilla injection spurred hair growth in pigs.

Also of note, this research was funded by the South Korean government via the Korea Drug Development Fund and the Korean Fund for Regenerative Medicine. Yet more reason to trust the legitimacy and reputability.

47 thoughts on “Hair Grown in Pigs from Human Dermal Papilla Cells”

  1. I don’t get these animal tests. You can theoretically test everything with a computer. The animal tests doesn’t help. Since when have we seen growing hair in mice?
    Even a banana has 50% same dna as a human being.

    Scientists who still need those tests are too late in the game…

  2. In the meantime, the scientists at Stemson are trying to figure out how to grow human hair in pigs…still trying.

    1. Their methods are completely different than that of Epibiotech’s though. Epibiotech are cultivating through dermal papilla cells from the donor region while Stemson are creating de novo follicles. But from inside scientists they have been posting how much their work has been advancing especially since last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce initiating clinical trials some time next year like they plan, the only issue is where they choose to do the trials

      1. I know, YoYo. I was just being sarcastic ;) If I remember correctly, Epibiotech was planning on initiating Phase 1 clinical trials in 2H 2023. Here’s hoping there won’t be any delays.

        1. Btw I agree for Epibiotech clinical trials this year but I was referring to Stemson’s clinical trials next year lol

          1. Stemson will start clinical trials in couple of years.

            iPSCs are very complex to control. Probably that’s why they have problems to have consistent results.

            1. alright Bryan, the community has a pretty strong idea where you stand and what your thoughts are no need to repeat it for the 400000th time

              1. YoYo, worldwide there are only 10 clinical trials involving iPSCs. There is a strong reason for that.

                Otherwise, stem cells/iPSCs therapies and clinical trials will be all over the place. Same goes for the 3D/4D bioprinting tissues from human stem cells.

                Last couple of years organoids became very popular, but they are still tiny mini-organs, and it will take make two generations to create fully functional organs de novo from stem cells. I read article from scientists saying how long we are from creating artificial heart and the answer was decades.

                1. What takes a decade in the west could take a year in China or North Korea.


                  Dr. He Jiankui, Lulu and Nana.

                  1. What Dr. He Jiankui did is totally different from Stemson or Epibiotech are trying to do right now…

                    Stemson is trying to make de novo hair follicles from isolated stem cells from the back of the head. And they need to make 10.000 hair follicles with the same quality, size, colour, pigmentation, growning in natural direction and so on…

                    1. I just meant that you can skip trials in China and North Korea and cheat. Stemson could have tested in humans 5 years ago in those countries.

                    2. You’re completely incorrect, they’re not trying to make hair follicles from the back of the head. It amazes me how you speak so confidently and negatively all the time while being completely misinformed. I recommend you leave these sites and don’t bother with this stuff. It’s not healthy for you

    2. The only thing Stemson knows how to grow is a staff of people who report nothing. I check their web site regularly, no news to report other than new hires. They might as well hire me too because it’s going to produce the same result. It amazes me how they have such a large staff and have nothing to show for it. I’m starting to not take them seriously anymore.

  3. It’s all bs, why don’t they use people on death row? They’ve done it many times for other drugs.

  4. Epibiotech is very interesting company, and it is very strange that wider hair loss community doesn’t pay too much attention to this company.

    Last year they succeed in creating hair organoids, which will lead, hopefully, to bigger hair loss research breakthroughs in future.

    Problem with dermal papilla cells injections is that you need to repeat the treatment constantly. Over and over.

  5. Question to Admin, Bryan and anyone else, are there any companies who are working on a treatment that could change the color of the hair? Let’s say you have blonde hair and you would like to change it to black or brown without dying. Doing this via some gene therapy or something that could change on deep molecular/genetic level would be groundbreaking. Are you aware of anyone conducting such research? Would that even be possible?

      1. Hey admin,

        No, I didn’t mean by that grey hair reversal. Let’s say if you had black hair and wanted to go blonde without actually dying your hair. I was wondering if you have come across anyone who was doing research on this topic. I guess something like tat may able achieved (if at all) via gene editing/CRISPR technology. Do you think any of the companies you’ve ever covered could potentially tackle this issue? Maybe Stemson?

  6. Funny you should mention Stroma Medical. I remember when they first came into existence back in 2009. I don’t know if it’s true, but people say they are a scam. If you look at their company’s website and social presence which is a joke, you may get that impression. I hope I’m wrong, but they don’t inspire confidence at all. It maybe just another investor scam.

  7. Great, so Epibiotech was able to get hair to grow in pigs through human dermal papilla injections. Now the question is are these hairs going to be able to cycle? Problem is finding this out will take years. At least they got them to grow in pigs and this is important given if it will work in pigs it’s almost guaranteed to work in humans. Now the situation is if we repeat these injections in humans, will the hairs grow in the correct directions, will the look match surrounding hair and grow to the same terminal length, will the hairs cycle, will it cause or increase the risk of cancer? Can these cells be multiplied so it can be of use to balding individuals? Most importantly of all, when are they going to test it in humans? So far I can say with confidence they did something Stemson couldn’t claim, grow hair on pigs! Seems South Korea and Japan are making the best progress to solving baldness.

    1. Related to this comment and an earlier one, I would be more than happy to get once every 3 months injections if that is what it takes. Provided somewhat affordable down the road and available in the US.

      1. In my case this wouldn’t work. I have long hair and need to get hairs that have a hair growth cycle to keep pace with the rest of my hair. In other words they need continued cycles of growth lasting for years. Amplifica can already do what you desire, assuming that is all you seek.

    1. Divide by 3 for per month price. Later on, divide by even more as frequency of maintenance related usage goes down.

  8. Is there a cure for hair loss 2023? to this question google gave the following answer …
    It’s unlikely there will be a cure for baldness any time soon. While scientists continue to conduct invaluable research that helps us better understand the condition, there aren’t yet any groundbreaking inroads towards a permanent cure.

    Let’s keep on sailing the sea of sadness :(

    1. I am wondering the dermal papilla injections given to the pigs what the quality of hairs were and did they cycle normally and grow in the correct direction? I wish they hadn’t sacrificed the pigs at month 3 as long term hair cycling is key to knowing it if will be a solution for humans. Sometimes I wonder if the scientists have any interest in caring to create a solution for those in need or are just following orders without purpose behind their tasks given. Sacrificing the pigs what was the point in this? I’d say keep them alive and see how the injected dermal papilla hairs survive with time.

  9. Admin, I haven’t been on here in quite sometime but I saw the pig hair article you posted and thought I would scroll to the comments and I noticed someone used my username to comment “Jens perhaps you can find a way to grow a Norwood 1 banana and then report back to us” who ever you are please do not use my username! For your comments! That isn’t me! That’s really Weird.

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