During the last 30 days, we have received positive updates from: Aclaris Therapeutics; Dr. Lowry (new company Pelage Pharmaceuticals); Follica; Polichem; and Shiseido.
We also had a positive story from Columbia University (Dr. Angela Christiano) this week that I did not cover. It pertained to a study from 2018 and another study from April 2019 that I already covered several times recently in relation to JAK-STAT signaling. The first of these studies involves a new way of 3D-printing hair. Who knows when it will reach the public, but still worth a read.
I did not think that we could have a more inspiring month than we have just had in the world of hair loss cure research.
Stemson Therapeutics has Arrived
I was wrong.
Moreover, Stemson has secured a multi-million dollar investment from pharmaceutical giant Allergan.
I have covered the co-founder of Stemson Therapeutics, Dr. Alexey Terskikh, numerous times in the past. He kindly gave me an interview in 2017, in which he mentioned that the biggest thing holding them back was lack of sufficient funding.
I have asked Dr. Terskikh to give us another interview soon and hopefully he will accept. Earlier this month, he told me that his lab was given a podium presentation at the ISSCR conference on June 27th, and were about to launch their new website around the same time.
However, he did not mention the below surprising development!
Functional Hair Follicles Grown from Stem Cells
Earlier today, San Diego based Sanford Burnham Prebys published a what seems to be groundbreaking new article: Functional Hair Follicle Grown from Stem Cells. Note that this research institute is affiliated with Dr. Terskikh. More on their Twitter account.
The breakthrough is because scientists from Sanford Burnham have created natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). According to the article, this “could revolutionize the hair growth industry”.
Unlike in past experiments where new hair growth was underneath the skin, haphazard, and disorderly, the current results produced hair growing above the skin in a uniform pattern. The breakthrough was achieved by using a biodegradable 3D scaffold that guided hair growth through the skin in its preferred direction.
The current protocol is based on mouse epithelial cells combined with human dermal papilla cells. However, the derivation of the epithelial part of a hair follicle from human iPSCs is currently underway in the Terskikh lab. Key quote from the article from today:
“Combined human iPSC-derived epithelial and dermal papilla cells will enable the generation of entirely human hair follicles, ready for allogenic transplantation in humans.”
Stemson Therapeutics has licensed the above technology from Sanford Burnham.
I hope there are no further major developments in the hair loss world till July 1, as I am about done for this month!