Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Terskikh: Hair loss is a wide spread human condition with an unmet need for hair replacement. In the United States alone, over 40 million men and 21 million women are affected by hair loss. I have been interested in the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into various cell including neural crest cells. In-vivo neural crest cells give rise to a multitude of cell types, including dermal papilla cells, which populate the bulb of hair follicles and regulate hair growth. We have established new method to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells into dermal papilla-like (DP-like) cells, with a goal of inducing hair growth. To find out whether DP-like cells induce hair growth we transplanted these cells under the skin of mice (which have a small amounts of white hair) along with the skin cells from dark-haired mice. We observed the growth of new black hairs suggesting the induction of hair growth by transplanted human DP-like cells.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Terskikh: We are still at early stages. Our next steps are to optimize the cell preparation procedure. And most importantly, we need to perform transplantation experiments using human skin (human volunteers) to assure the clinical usefulness of this procedure.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Terskikh: In principle, the use of human pluripotent stem cells should enable us to generate large supply of patient-specific cells avoiding the problem of immune rejection. A virtually unlimited supply of patient-tailored DP-like cells should allow the life-long supply of hair inducing cells at a very reasonable cost.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with, & Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D. (2015). Lab Turns Stem Cells Into Hair Bulbs That Grow Hair MedicalResearch.com