I have seen some videos taken from CBS 60 minutes and another CBS news release that outlines an approach to growing organ parts (see here and here). The challenge of growing an entire organ like hair (which is a complete organ containing skin, glands, fat, nerves, blood vessels, stem cells and special hair growing cells) is more difficult than these video examples of finger tip and heart valve growth. Much of this research has been funded by the U.S. government and military and one has to be careful about taking such early studies and expanding on its greater meaning.
A number of readers recently pointed me to a press release apparently sent out by Drs. Hitzig and Cooley proclaiming they’ve successfully cloned hair using a special powder called MatriStem MicroMatrix. Here’s a part of the press release:
MatriStem MicroMatrix, a product of regenerative medicine innovator, ACell, Inc., is a wound healing powder that promotes healing and tissue growth and has now proven to help regenerate hair in the donor and recipient regions of hair transplant patients. While intended for diabetic ulcers, venous ulcers, pressure ulcers, traumatic wounds, second degree burns, surgical wounds (donor sites/grafts) and trauma wounds, Hitzig and Cooley have found that its properties offer a broader scope of treatment, including hair cloning.
There are some very early ideas on how this might work with hair, but there is no solid research available to support the hair claims. The press release is a bit sensationally written on the hair side, and I’d suspect this was sent out by an overzealous PR agency with a flair for the dramatic, rather than this being a case of these doctors claiming to do something that can’t be done with any consistency.
You can read the full text of the PR here.
Photo source: Associated Press