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At the 13th World Congress for Hair Research (WCHR) in Dallas, Texas, USA, HairClone’s Head of Research, Jennifer Dillon, PhD, gave a talk and a poster presentation titled “Cryopreserved Follicles as a Diverse Source of Cells for Regenerative Medicine”.

On Monday 8th April, Dr Dillon discussed the benefits of whole follicle banking, which involves surgically extracting the entire hair follicle including the dermal papilla: the stem-like cells that orchestrate hair growth and provide regenerative potential. Once extracted, hair follicles are shipped from clinics across the globe under temperature-controlled conditions, and are cryopreserved in the UK and stored at -196ºC to stop biological aging. HairClone have demonstrated growth of a range of cell types from cryopreserved hair follicles, including the multiplication of dermal papilla cells over 1000 times. Dermal papilla cells are the focus of HairClone’s personalised cell therapy for androgenic alopecia which is currently in development. 

Not only do cells within these stored follicles have the potential to rejuvenate hair, they have the potential to be used in other applications within regenerative medicine, such as tendon rebuilding, supporting peripheral nerve repair, and providing a source of pigment-producing cells to treat vitiligo.  

Further to utilising dermal papilla cells as building blocks for repairing miniaturising hair, the pro-hair growth signalling molecules released by dermal papilla cells could also be harnessed during laboratory culture where these molecules are released into the cell culture medium. In the scalp, these signals instruct neighbouring cells to generate the hair shaft and therefore could represent a topical or injectable stimulant of hair growth.  

Jennifer presented this exciting opportunity within regenerative medicine as a poster and an oral presentation during the Regenerative Medicine and Biological Therapies session. The session also featured groups who are quantifying extracellular vesicles in platelet rich plasma, as well as the use of cord lining mesenchymal stem cell extracellular proteins to stimulate hair growth.   

The WCHR conference also happened to coincide with the total lunar eclipse; Dallas, Texas was one of the few cities across the world to experience this!

Spanning across 4 days, the WCHR brings together dermatologists, cosmetic scientists, research scientists and hair restoration surgeons from across the globe to share new advancements within the field. 

“I hope to have provided a valuable contribution to an inspiring and collaborative conference, made even more memorable by the addition of a solar eclipse!”- Dr Jennifer Dillon