Using stem cells to grow new hair

By Susan Gammon, Ph.D.
January 27, 2015
123

In a new study, Sanford-Burnham researchers have used human pluripotent stem cells to generate new hair. The study represents the first step toward the development of a cell-based treatment for people with hair loss. In the United States alone, more than 40 million men and 21 million women are affected by hair loss. The research was published online in PLOS ONE.

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“We have developed a method using human pluripotent stem cells to create new cells capable of initiating human hair growth. The method is a marked improvement over current methods that rely on transplanting existing hair follicles from one part of the head to another,” said Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., associate professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program. “Our stem cell method provides an unlimited source of cells from the patient for transplantation and isn’t limited by the availability of existing hair follicles.”

The research team developed a protocol that coaxed human pluripotent stem cells to become dermal papilla cells. They are a unique population of cells that regulate hair-follicle formation and growth cycle. Human dermal papilla cells on their own are not suitable for hair transplants because they cannot be obtained in necessary amounts and rapidly lose their ability to induce hair-follicle formation in culture.

“In adults, dermal papilla cells cannot be readily amplified outside of the body and they quickly lose their hair-inducing properties,” said Terskikh. “We developed a protocol to drive human pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into dermal papilla cells and confirmed their ability to induce hair growth when transplanted into mice.”

“Our next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects,” said Terskikh. “We are currently seeking partnerships to implement this final step.”

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Susan Gammon, Ph.D.

Susan is editor of Communications at SBP.

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123 Comments

  1. Dr. Alan J. Bauman on

    Dr. Terskikh & Team, Congratulations on your achievement in using stem cells to grow new hair. The entire Bauman Medical Group hair transplant team (and our hair loss patients) wish you much success in the future as you continue this hair loss research which will hopefully produce another viable treatment, or perhaps a cure, for baldness in the near future. Sincerely, Alan J. Bauman M.D. – Diplomate, American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Liliana,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Luke,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

  2. Matthew caudill on

    Hi, my name is Matthew and I have a terrible receding hair line and if yall are looking for human trials I would be interested pls let me know if I can be of any assistance thanks.

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Matthew,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

      • Patrick Bartosch on

        Hi,

        Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

        Keep reading Beaker for updates!

        Best,

        Patrick Bartosch
        Manager, Communications
        Sanford-Burnham

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

  3. Seriously, please inform us who will be running the next trial based on the comment in the article. See below. This is good news.

    “Our next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects. We are currently seeking partnerships to implement this final step.”

    Steve

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

  4. Please explain when do you think that this new and revolutionary method could become commercially available and if it must pass through the complicated process of FDA approval. Thank you.

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

      • Would you tell me please about the duration from finding a commercial partner then to the clinic part then to the market how should it takes time?

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi David,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

  5. Hi,
    This may very well become the miracle solution for people suffering from increasing hair loss and may have the same impact on the public (and results for the company) as Viagra did for people suffering from ED.
    Keep working on this !!
    Congrats

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi David,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Shamil,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Eric,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Abe,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Ricky,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Trish,

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our research. We are currently in the process of identifying a commercial partner to move this research into the clinic.

      Keep reading Beaker for updates!

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

      • maybe Replicel? Or Histogen?

        Or Bosley? They have the brick and mortar locations to sell the procedure out of, and have the aderans arm of the company to support the research efforts.

  6. I have a 9 year old daughter with alopecia universalis. She was born with hair, but lost it 6 months later. We traveled to Houston, Tx for an assessment from a specialist, but received nothing but bad news. When she was 3 years old, she was able to grow a bit of hair on her head and eyebrows, but lost it again soon after. Since then she has not grown any hair and we have tried all non invasive treatments with very little or no success at all. She is very retrieved socially and is prone for depression. It kills me to see her living so lonely and so sadly. I would like to ask you to keep Andrea in mind if you reach the volunteers step in your research. Best regards

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hi Ana,

      Thank you for your comment. I recommend you visit our blog Beaker regularly for updates on this.

      Patrick
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

  7. Vladimir Vescovo on

    Hi. Curious to know if there are any prospective human clinical trials down the track, or any time soon. With kind regards . Vlad Vescovo

  8. I would love to volunteer. I am in the Chicago area. I have partial hair loss limited to the scalp in patches. Have had this now for about 6 years and it appears to be slowly progressing.

  9. I would be interested in becoming a test subject for new hair growth I am losibg my hair very quickly and I am over the age if 18 but under the age of 40 abd I dont wanna lose my hair this early in life

  10. Ravi Choudhary on

    Sir
    I am from Mumbai, India. I am interested in treatment of this technology. Please update us. Also we may be interested n any kind of commercial proposal for India. Thanks

  11. HELLO
    I AM ABHAY FROM INDIA
    I AM SURFING FROM BALDNESS FROM FEW YEAR BUT NOT GET ANY POSITIVE RESULT.
    I AM FEELING SHAMELESS WITH MY LOOK
    I AM NOT ABLE TO TAKE COSTLY TREATMENT DUE TO MY FINANCIAL PROBLEM
    PLS OFFER ME SOLUTION.

    THANKS

  12. my 18 year old daughter has vitiligo under her eyebrows and due to that all her eyebrow hair has gone white.our aim is to bring back black hair on the eyebrow without causing any harm to the vitiligo affected skin and any other side effects..can this be possible with your stem cell therapy?

  13. Luisa SAntos Fialho on

    I would like to be informed of the progress of this technique because I have alopecia for 25 years

    I hope they can get a fast partner in Europe, because I am Portuguese but any advance wherever in the world it is always good

  14. Seems very interesting but unfortunately I am quite sure this breakthrough would be as usual, appears then vanishes again or in worst situation it would be taking years and years from now.

  15. would love to be a part of the testing x hairdresser know someone was going to to it with stem cell
    thank you carl

  16. Masamitsu Onda on

    It is a great work!
    I am working in the field of hair transplant surgery.
    I think next step is ithis!
    I would like to join this new study with my many patients from Japan.

  17. After recent surgery on my knee (total knee replacement), I noticed a large increase in the amount of hair growing around the incision. When my knees are together, you can really see the difference. I pointed out this anomaly to doctors and other medical professionals who almost universally said, “Huh. Look at that” Can there be a cause and effect here?

    • Funny you should mention. I never thought about it, but now that you say this, this brings back some specific memories. When I was in 4th Grade, I broke my femur, and my leg was in a cast. After the cast was removed, I remember there were scars from where the pins in my leg were. I also remember that when I took my leg brace off, my broken leg was harrier than my non-broken leg (mind you, I was a pre-pubescent 4th grader who didn’t have hairy legs), where there was no damaged tissue from the pins. I was sitting at the pool one day, and my cousin looks at my exposed, out-of-brace leg, and says, “Ethan, you have the hairiest leg I’ve ever seen.” There might actually be something to this.

  18. I would like to have partnership with you. It seems to be very interesting. And whatever the formalities or requirement please tell me I am interested to open this facility in my place with your help. Waiting for your response

  19. I would love to volunteer for this study, if or when you need test subjects. This sounds amazing if I don’t have to get my scalp cut that’s cool.

  20. Hi,

    I am a 33 year old Asian female suffering from female pattern baldness since around 15 years of age. I have lost 50% of my hair. I would be interested in participating as a volunteer.

    Rgds,

    K

  21. Ninian Peckitt on

    There are several issues here. There are subpopulations of hair follicles and George Costarellis has demonstrated that follicles +ve for Green Fluorescent Protein produce the quality of hair requiem to correct male pattern baldness. So it is this subpopulation of follicles that need generation. But this needs to be carried out in conjunction with the regeneration of the papilla – so there is a way to go.

    One exciting fear ure is that a messenger protein has been discovered which converts skin into hairy skin. But the skin needs to be injured first. Costarellis is currently developing this technology and this seems to be a way for.

    I have no doubt that this research will herald the end of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and simplify the surgical treatment of baldness..

  22. Inma del Árbol Medialdea on

    Good evening,
    My mother suffers an important lose of hair, and she will be ready to try it as soon as she can.
    For the moment the only treatment that semeems to improve a little the quality of her hair is a capsule dosis from the product Vichy Dercos Neogenic, but it isn´t enough…
    Please go ahead and try to implant a place to do it in Spain.
    Thank you.
    Best regards from Granada (Spain)
    Inma del Árbol Medialdea

  23. Hi,
    I just want to know when this treatment will be available and how much will this cost.
    Apart from this what will be it’s side effects and what would be the duration to regow the hair?

  24. Hi,
    I am a 42 years old italian female. I have lost 50% of my hair. I would be interested in participating as a volunteer for clinical research!! I can travel anywhere for the treatment. Thanks! Best regards

  25. If you want to make sure it works on red heads then I am your man. Please test on me! I’m 43 and have done the grafting once but it was not enough. I don’t live too far from San Diego.

  26. S. Strum, MD, FACP on

    This is the kind of medicine that I thought my life would be full of when I entered medical school. Now I hope the scientists translate this into actual care that is affordable before another 50 years goes by.

  27. I would donate a lot of money ONLY if the clinical trials were done in Japan as regulations there allow for quick trials as well as a quick commercial release. USA and the FDA is a waste of time. We have one life to live and I am NOT willing to wait any longer for a treatment.

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Dear Thomas,

      Thank you very much for your comment and your interest in our research. We’ll keep your contact details on file and be in touch once this moves to a stage where we can discuss clinical trials and next steps.

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

  28. Congratulaciones!!!
    As you may be already aware we are millions around the world with such a problem not only the few, millions in the US.
    Wondering, about the cost to patients and wating time.

    Good luck to you and much success!!!

  29. Hi
    I just want to know when this treatment will be available and how much will this cost. Apart from this what will be it’s side effects and what would be the duration to regrow the hair? and When will be available in India? plz mail me ASAP
    Thanks

    • Hi…
      Had there been any update on this … I would really appreciate if you could update the progress.. millions and millions are waiting it would.be really great if you take sometime and update us about it… Please. .
      Thanks
      Saahil

  30. DAVID M MORROW, MD on

    i am a double board certified dermatologist & cosmetic surgeon with some background and knowledge in stem cells, and in hair transplantation procedures. I would love to be involved in your research. I am currently part of the Cell Surgical Network based in Rancho Mirage & Beverly Hills, which you may have heard of. Please advise.
    Dr. Morrow

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Dear Dr. Morrow,

      Thank you very much for your comment and your interest in our research. We’ll keep your contact information on file and be in touch once we’re at a stage where we can move forward.

      Best,

      Patrick Bartosch
      Manager, Communications
      Sanford-Burnham

  31. Kiran A Jadhav on

    hi , i want this treatment. but when this will come in the market for patients who are suffering form alopecia or bladness.. please provide next information as soon as ..

  32. Hello,

    I would like to make a $25,000 USD donation to your research. Please advise us as to how we should direct donations to go specifically to this research. I would highly advise setting up a funding campaign specifically for this research as I have many colleagues who would be interested in making similar donations.

    In reference to a comment below, I feel that Japan will be very useful in getting this product through trials safely and to market in a timely fashion. The FDA trial process is very important since cancer is obviously a considerable concern of such treatments, however, the FDA can do more harm in it’s hindrance than good in its precautions. Therefore, bringing this technology to market through Japan is a viable and smart approach by satisfying the safety protocols and also streamlining the technology. FDA will more easily follow suit when the product has already come to market.

  33. Randy Garfield on

    Would be interested in more information on the trial and what type of person you are looking for to participate in the study.

  34. I simply wanted join with the many voices here who are getting behind this and hoping for the chance at a trial. Regardless of the fruition of being selected I, too, will offer support financially albeit in a smaller sum. Thank you for your hard work!

  35. Anthony A. Longo on

    Mr. Bartosch,
    Congratulations to the entire team for this remarkable achievement. May I ask – once you are prepared to begin clinical trials, what process will you use to locate and screen volunteers? Obviously I would very much like to participate. Thank you.

    Anthony A Longo

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Dear Anthony,

      Thank you very much for your comment. Sanford-Burnham will not conduct these clinical trials directly. We will be looking for a partner that will help us conduct them. Once we have identified a partner, we will let everyone know here on Beaker.

      Best,

      Patrick

  36. I have been checking this website daily for four months now and am kind of loosing hope. You guys really should have some sort of blog for people to check in for updates. Can you tell us if there has been any progress at all in the LAST 4 MONTHS !!?

    • Patrick Bartosch on

      Hello,

      Thank you for your comment and for being such an avid Beaker reader. Unfortunately, these studies can take years. Just finding a partner to move this forward will take months, if not longer. We understand it is very frustrating, but it is not uncommon for research to move at this pace.

      We promise to post updates here once we have them.

      Best,

      Patrick

  37. Hello Mr. Bartosch,
    I am interested in the clinical trials and was wondering, if you have identified commercial partners for clinical trials research.

    Thanks
    Puneet Sharma

  38. Hi,

    Please, please provide update. Don’t let our hope and spirit die down. You have provided glimpse of possibility and millions are waiting to know every minute of further progress.

    Regards,
    AM

  39. Is there anyone at SB who is active looking for partners?

    I thinks a full-time person could find a partner quickly.

    and how much in donation do you need for CRO to run this trial? Your donation button does not list an amount needed or amount have been raised to this date? It is hard to tell if you are close to your goal or very far away.

    tthank you again for research this

  40. Hello, I know that this study isn’t up yet for human clinical trials, but I would like to sign up once it’s possible!

  41. hi, first of all I apologize for my english .. and congratulate you for the study !!! please go ahead fast, and because living well ‘really frustrating !!! but a kind of collective financing, by all people with hair loss may be a good idea ?? I put this question to all the people who suffer like me … the search is slow?!? let’s move us !!!

  42. Is there any timeline for human trials. We are waiting to last the clinical study and test it on human as soon as. Do our small donates make it possible to complete the study and come to market? Congratulate the best job ever done.

  43. How close are you to the goal of donated dollars? Thanks! FPHL premenopausal is awful and still devastating after menopause. Thanks for your research and we all hope it moves along to testing humans ASAP!!

    • It would be great to know how much more money they need to complete the funding. I’d be more apt to donate.

  44. hello sir, it has been a very long time since you update the breaking news of growing hair from stem cells but unfortunately there is no remarkable progress after that.
    We are waiting for your treatment, Money and treatment cost doesn’t matter at all.
    we hope you should bring the treatment as soon as possible.
    we all trust you and have a hope on you.
    please update your current findings or trails update.
    thank you.

  45. Hello, I am a 22 male who is completely near bald. The loss of my hair is unexplainable, even astounding some doctors. I started losing my hair at 17, and was bald by 21. There is no explaination for my rapid loss of hair. I think I would be the perfect test subject because of my young age and my extreme hair loss. That I am aware, no ones hair loss is as extreme as mine at such a young age.

  46. TUNUI James on

    Hello,

    My son is suffering from male pattern baldness and he is so young. It has turned his life upside down, and i am looking for all possible options to permanently restore all of his hair. Propecia and Rogaine are for the the most part very ineffective with negative side effects, and current hair transplant methods only restore a little of your hair and don’t look natural. I am hoping this stem cell hair loss treatment will we on the market in a few short years. I am willing to donate several $100K if it will help to pick up the pace of this project. Thank you for the great work you are doing and good luck Dr. Bartosch.

      • bobby@bobby.com on

        (1) How much more money is needed in donations before the next trial can begin? $500k? $1M? $5M?

        (2) Once you’ve reached the needed donations, how much longer until the trial will start? A year after the needed donations are reached? two years after the donations are reached?

        I have money I’d like to donate, but until I have at least a basic idea of how and when the funds would be used, I am hesitant to give– as I’m sure many other are.

        If tomorrow you posted that you need $1M dollars, you would have $1M in donations the next day.

  47. Dear sir..
    Hairloss is sick it’s a curse…I want to know how long will it take to be ready in the market …
    My life has already stopped I’m hiding from everyone it hurts it really hurts to get bald…
    Iv cried enough if I get my head full of hair it’d like getting my life back …With all my heart and all the bald guys out there who are hurt i request you come up with this solution soon…

    Thanks
    Email : saahilkhan179@gmail.com

  48. Hi and congratulations on the research. I’m a 48 yr.old male and I started losing my hair at 21. I’ve been fighting myself all these years to do something about my hair loss but never took the chance. I want my hair back so bad. I’m so self conscious about my hair loss. I would love to be a volunteer for this research. If you can could you contact me regarding the procedure? Thank you.

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