Developing a Cell-Based Therapy for Alopecia

Grantee: George Cotsarelis, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

Grant: 3,793,808 DKK

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA, Male or Female Pattern Baldness) is the most common type of hair loss, affecting approximately 50% of men and 30% of women by the age of 50.

Current therapies, including pharmaceutical and surgical interventions, are either marginally effective or expensive with significant limitations. Over the last decade, breakthroughs made in the field of adult stem cells have laid the foundation for a cell-based approach to tissue and organ regeneration. Cell-based therapies will comprise a new wave of medical breakthroughs.

In this study we propose to produce human hair follicles from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by directing these cells to form the two types of cells that are needed for human hair formation, namely the human hair follicle epidermal cells and the hair inductive dermal fibroblasts.

We will combine our hair biology and tissue-engineering expertise to generate early stage human hair follicles in culture that can be implanted into an animal model to grow into a mature hair. The long-term goals are to develop an innovative cell-based treatment for hair loss and an in vitro platform for testing hair growth compounds.