This week, there has been some excitement about a new company named PolarityTE (h/t BTT member “nickk” who first posted about this) that is planning to regenerate human skin (including fully functioning hair follicles). When I first saw the company’s website, I was not overly excited about such a start-up, since we already know of many other established companies that have been working on skin regeneration or skin replacement technology for years. I thought about just mentioning PolarityTE in my next “brief items of interest” post in another week, right next to a mention about L-Oreal’s EpiSkin and Matek’s EpiDerm that have also been in the news lately. Moreover, articles such as this one made the company sound sketchy to me, although I am no expert in the financial markets.
However, upon fully reading the lengthy Utah newspaper article on this local company and going through PolarityTE’s website in more detail, I decided it was worth writing an entire post on them. A few highly positive things stand out about the company:
- The company’s young CEO, Dr. Denver Lough, was a plastic reconstruction surgeon at the respected Johns Hopkins Hospital.
- The former head of the burn unit at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Stephen Milner (along with a few other colleagues), also moved over to the company’s headquarters at The University of Utah. Note that Dr. Milner previously also taught at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Remember them?
- According to Dr. Lough, the company is “preparing to announce data that shows for the first time the ability to produce fully functioning, full-thickness skin with hair follicles in a swine model”. For once, a pig and not a rat!
- In just a few more months, the company plans to conduct human studies at burn centers around the country. Commercial release is then planned for as soon as early next year.
- Since the products are organic and autologous (“a combination of stem cells and biological growth factors”), no lengthy FDA clinical trials will be required.
- On PolarityTEs website, one section has the following quote: “If successful in the burn market, we plan to explore entry into other markets, such as acute and chronic wounds, cosmetic/scar revisions, and hair regeneration“.
Will skin regeneration happen before a cure for hair loss? Or does skin regeneration with fully functioning hair follicles automatically imply that both will occur at around the same time? Or will neither happen in the near future?