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iPSCs Used To Grow Functional Hair Follicles.

LA JOLLA, Calif., June 27, 2019 -- Scientists here have created natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), an achievement that could revolutionize the hair growth industry.

The findings by scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute were presented at a meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR).

A start-up company, Stemson Therapeutics, has licensed the technology.

More than 80 million men, women and children in the United States experience hair loss.

Genetics, aging, childbirth, cancer treatment, burn injuries and medical disorders such as alopecia can cause the condition.

Hair loss is often associated with emotional distress that can reduce quality of life and lead to anxiety and depression.

"Our new protocol overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use," said Alexey Terskikh, a co-founder and chief scientific officer of Stemson Therapeutics. "Now we have a robust, highly controlled method for generating natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using an unlimited source of human iPSC-derived dermal papilla cells."

Terskikh studies a type of cell called dermal papilla.

Residing inside the hair follicle, these cells control hair growth, including hair thickness, length and growth cycle.

In 2015, Terskikh successfully grew hair underneath mouse skin (subcutaneous) by creating dermal papilla derived from human pluripotent stem cells--a tantalizing but uncontrolled process that required further refinement.

"Our new protocol described today overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use," said Terskikh. "Now we have a robust, highly controlled method for generating natural -looking hair that grows through the skin using an unlimited source of human iPSC-derived dermal papilla cells. This is a critical breakthrough in the development of cell-based hair-loss therapies and the regenerative medicine field."

The approach features a 3D biodegradable scaffold made from the same material as dissolvable stitches.

The scaffold controls the direction of hair growth and helps the stem cells integrate into the skin, a naturally tough barrier.

The protocol relies on mouse epithelial cells combined with human dermal papilla cells. The experiments were conducted in immunodeficient nude mice, which lack body hair.

The derivation of the epithelial part of a hair follicle from iPSCs is underway in the Terskikh lab.

Combined human iPSC-derived epithelial and dermal papilla cells will enable the generation of entirely human hair follicles, ready for allogenic transplantation in humans.

Distinct from any other approaches to hair follicle regeneration, human iPSCs provide an unlimited supply of cells and can be derived from a blood draw.

The technology has been licensed to Stemson Therapeutics (stemsontx.com), to advance applications that may help millions of men, women and children who struggle with hair loss.

Based in San Diego, Stemson was co-founded by Geoff Hamilton and Alexey Terskikh in 2018 to commercialize an iPSC-based cell therapy for hair loss developed at Sanford Burnham Prebys.

Contact (for more on the ISSCR presentation): http://bit.ly/2Xc5eug

Contact: http://www.stemsontx.com

Contact: Alexey Terskikh,

terskikh@SBPdiscovery.org
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Title Annotation:Advanced Stem Cell Technology
Publication:Stem Cell Research News
Date:Jul 1, 2019
Words:494
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