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  1. #1
    Senior Member Desmond84's Avatar
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    film Dr Lauster's Team (Berlin University of Technology)

    Hi guys so as promised here's my interview with Dr Lauster and Dr Beren Atac on their work over the last 5 years.

    Here's my recount of the discussion I had with Dr Linder & Dr Atac about their work.

    Firstly, it is with great excitement to mention that their work into regeneration of a hair follicle did not stop in 2010 after their ground breaking paper was published but rather continued at a remarkable pace with significant breakthroughs being made and some patents filed. Their presentation at the congress gave a great insight into how far along they actually are. It is also important to mention that their lab is subdivided into several teams, each working on regenerating a particular organ of the body such as the liver, kidney and of course the hair follicle.

    Their aim is to have at least 10 organ models that are of human origin in order to provide a much better prediction of how a drug would perform in a clinical trial compared to animal studies. A FDA study showed that more than 92% of substances tested in animals show false negative results, and have to be excluded from use in/on humans because of toxic effects. They gave a few examples of where investigational drugs showed to be safe in animal studies but proved to be fatal in human subjects. Tegenero trial being an example.

    The hair follicle team (Dr Lindner, Lauster & Atac) have FOUR goals:

    1) To create a microchip system where many organs thrive.

    2) To create a human hair follicle model that allows rapid screening of compounds that may have an impact on hair regeneration or removal! This may be performed on a single follicle or on a follicle embedded in an engineered full thickness skin equivalent

    3) To engineer neopapillae (ECM coated dermal papilla cell spheroids) that will be transplantable into human subjects for patients suffering from Androgenetic Alopecia.

    4) and ultimately, to have personalised chips of all genetic backgrounds to give a full picture of pharmacokinetics & pharmacodynamics of an investigational drug.


    As for what they have achieved so far:

    1) In 2010: Their original paper was published which we are well aware of.

    2) In 2011: They bioengineered “human micro-hair follicles” in vitro. These micro-follicles displayed key characteristics of human vellus-like hair follicles. Mesenchymal, ectodermal and neuro-ectodermal originated primary cells from dissected human hair follicles were isolated and expanded. Dermal papilla fibroblasts were kept under low adherent culture conditions (along the same line as the EVAL scaffolds of the Taiwanese that we came across) resulting in the formation of dermal papilla-like aggregates. They then forced keratinocytes and melanocytes to attach to these dermal papilla spheres to allow further follicular development. The result was a self-organizing micro-organoid made up of separate segments enclosed by extracellular matrix membranes, sheath formations and a hair shaft–like fiber. Central ECM proteins and defined mesenchymal and epithelial markers were expressed. Furthermore, inner root sheath formation was found to be present and the melanocyte markers “p-Mel17”, “c-kit” and “TRP-1” were expressed in the supra-papillary region of the microfollicle. These results showed that the de novo formation of human microfollicles in vitro is possible and contains all the basic hair follicle like characteristics.

    At this point they realised that after the addition of keratinocytes and melanocytes, the self-organizing micro-organoids followed a stringent pattern of follicular-like formation by generating polarized segments, sheath formations and the production of a hair shaft-like fiber. But the bio-engineered hairs were vellus-like and didn’t turn terminal. This is most probably due to lack of nutrient and oxygen supply during cell culture but may also be caused by an altered gene expression, a problem that Dr Jahoda’s team faced a few years later with their 3D hanging drop spheroid cultures.

    Since then, they transferred their culturing method to a perfused bioreactor system and finally came to the conclusion that the best way and finally came to the conclusion that the best way to improve the microfollicle development is by also co-culturing endothelial cells with the hair follicle which turn into micro-blood vessels and are normally feeding the hair follicles the necessary oxygen, hormones and nutrients. In fact, our hair follicles are very well vascularised, and one can see where they are coming from.

    3) So in 2013, they went at it again. They again used an ultra-low adherent attachment conditions. The low-adherent surface which is polycarbonate-based mimics mesenchymal condensation during embryonic development. Under these conditions, DP cells self-aggregate and are then coated with keratinocytes, melanocytes and endothelial cells. After 48 hours the newly formed micro-follicles are placed in a multi-organ chip platform to grow. They also used a new 3D matrix environment to enhance gene expression. These micro-follicles were cultured for 14 days, which showed further improvements in hair follicle-like expressions as you’ll see in the presentation.


    So, I guess although they haven’t managed to completely replicate a fully functional (terminal) hair follicle, these follicles look very promising indeed. Some may even call it the endgame (of chess), where there are very few pieces left to play. Exciting times indeed and what a wonderful team of individuals working on such a revolutionary project. The Lauster team as we know them is made up of some great minds: Dr Gerd Lindner and Beren Atac to name a few. I wish them all the very best and I’m sure they’ll have very exciting news to share with the world in a few years.
    And here's Dr Atac's presentation:



    __________________________________________________ ________________

    Their website on hair cloning technology will also be launched in the very near future. I'll be posting the link as soon as they let me know.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Winston; 06-28-2014 at 07:05 PM.

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    Great news Desmond and thanks for sharing!

    So what do their 2013 achievements mean to us in terms of how car along they've come? What are the next steps? I assume the goal is to implant these new follicles, correct?

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    Beren Atac has nice hair.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thinning87 View Post
    Great news Desmond and thanks for sharing!

    So what do their 2013 achievements mean to us in terms of how car along they've come? What are the next steps? I assume the goal is to implant these new follicles, correct?
    nothing

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    Quote Originally Posted by kobefan234 View Post
    nothing
    It won't help us in the short term but what they are working on will help us in 10 years. There is a treatment that will give us satisfactory results now to cover us while we wait for cell treatments to be perfected. The treatment has been tested and it worked quite well used in the frequency that it was used. We could even increase the frequency of injections and topical application and perhaps get even better results. We were all talking about it and then all of a sudden we all stopped talking about it abruptly. The below link provides us with a way to get satisfactory coverage while we wait for cell therapy to be perfected:

    http://www.balancehairrestoration.co...stem-cells.pdf

    We just need to figure out a way to get this exact same treatment.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    It won't help us in the short term but what they are working on will help us in 10 years. There is a treatment that will give us satisfactory results now to cover us while we wait for cell treatments to be perfected. The treatment has been tested and it worked quite well used in the frequency that it was used. We could even increase the frequency of injections and topical application and perhaps get even better results. We were all talking about it and then all of a sudden we all stopped talking about it abruptly. The below link provides us with a way to get satisfactory coverage while we wait for cell therapy to be perfected:

    http://www.balancehairrestoration.co...stem-cells.pdf

    We just need to figure out a way to get this exact same treatment.

    We need to have a respected doctor take a look at this and see what he has to say. If this really worked, I think there'd be a lot more interest in it/doctors everywhere beginning to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FearTheLoss View Post
    We need to have a respected doctor take a look at this and see what he has to say. If this really worked, I think there'd be a lot more interest in it/doctors everywhere beginning to do it.
    Fear the loss, guys like you say negative, negative, negative about everything and that is why guys like you will let a potential cure slide by you. The study is legit. It's obvious that it really worked because a number of us have tried to contact the researchers who did the study and they aren't responding back to us. This shows that they aren't a bunch of charlatans trying to sell us something. They just did the study because they wanted to find something out - if the idea would work. They found out it worked and now they're moving on...probably because it's not approved for commercial use by the regulatory agency where they reside. Or probably because it hasn't undergone sufficient human testing or perhaps because they only wanted to do the study but don't really want to commercialize if for some reason of their own. Whatever! The point is that the study is legitimate because the doctors involved aren't even trying to peddle it. They might not even be willing to. Your thinking is wrong and we need to figure out a way to get this treatment now or else you need to snuggle in and get comfy for your 10-year wait while cell therapy is perfected.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Desmond84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thinning87 View Post
    Great news Desmond and thanks for sharing!

    So what do their 2013 achievements mean to us in terms of how car along they've come? What are the next steps? I assume the goal is to implant these new follicles, correct?
    What we now know is they are on par with many of the other teams around the world. They are utilising everything out there such 3D scaffolding, polycarbonate surfaces and microchip technology to culture DP cells and produce hair seeds (neopapillae) that will be capable of inducing hair follicles.

    I think before the congress, there were so many discussions about lack of interest in hair regeneration research, insufficient funds, etc...but on the contrary, we found that there is a lot of interest out there and many scientists are working tirelessly day and night to crack the code to hair regeneration. That was so encouraging and being among them and seeing their enthusiasm was uplifting to say the least. During dinner I was telling one of the professors about why I'm there and the emotional roller coaster so many sufferers go through and how much their work matters to us and he looked at me with a really sincere look and said "I'll tell you this. It's only a matter of time before hair regeneration is seen as something trivial in the scientific world". I could hear my heart pounding out of my chest listening to him lol....some of the other researchers also gave me some encouraging timelines but obviously they were "off-record" and I wasn't allowed to quote them for it.

    I personally think unless you are in your 60s, you will benefit from this technology...regardless of what some people might say here. Yes, it won't be here in the next 5 years, but we already knew that before going to the congress. We wanted to know how close we are and I think we got a pretty decent picture of it. Things are much better than we thought and that is amazing :-)

    Having said all of that, everyone who care about their hair should be on Finasteride or at least Minoxidil in the meantime to maintain what they have, because being miserable for the next 8-10 years waiting is not a life anyone should be living.

    A lot of the times, people get angry when they realise it's not coming in the next 2-3 years, but if it was then the whole world would be talking about it We are here to discuss cutting edge FUTURE treatments and by no means trying to give ppl false hope to stop them from trying current, effective and approved medicines. Those conversations have their place in a different part of the forum and we all try to help each other out with any questions about our available treatments.

    We are here to discuss and share scientific information with each other NOT to preach doomsday and end of the world for all the follicularly challenged! Because at the end of the day that does way more harm than good and if that's the case than this forum is a waste of time after all...but I like to think it isn't

    Sorry Thinning for all the rambling, but I hate how some ppl have attacked everything we did over the last few months! I personally put in a lot of time getting all of this information online, not to mention all the financing and effort all the other members put into this project.

    As for your question, Dr Lausters team believes playing around with growth factors (GF) may complicate things in terms of FDA approval...since many of these GFs are animal-derived, so they are trying to create a mini follicle ready for transplantation in a microchip without the use of many GFs, and then implant into the scalp and let our own GFs present in our scalp to take care of the rest. Once they have the whole regeneration thing down-pad, they will try it on a human skin model and then move onto human trials.

    Hope that answers your question brother ;-) cheers

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    Thanks Desmond, that was a well written, well thought out, and informative post. Also thanks for your hard work. Either way we all live in an era where medical progress is probably going to help every one of us in some way, whether it is hair related or not. I'm happy to know that if I have a son, he won't have many worries as far as hair nonsense is concerned, and I think there are much bigger things to worry about, like the state of the world and the environment in general.

    I am really curious to know whether the hair seeds that they have already made would grow into hair on someone's head as they are, but I guess the want to get them even more perfected before they try that. It's curious to think what exactly is holding the seeds back from becoming full hairs. I wrote an email to Gardner a few months ago where I asked him why they aren't growing DP cells in tiny chambers coated with epithelial cells, and then watched that Beren Atac video to see that she is doing precisely that Made me smile.

  10. #10
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    hey desmond,

    you mentioned that their bioengineered follicles are currently not terminal yet, only vellus-like hairs. so i assume they never tried to implant those follicles into human scalp yet, what do you think?

    but what if this micro follicle is already enough to trigger further mechanisms after implantation? what if the follicle starts to grow, or if it triggers the surrounding cells to strengthen the follicle? did they ever tested it to see the outcome? or do they need official trials for that, which is not going to happen before they create terminal hairs.

    implanting those vellus-like hair would also show some other aspects, e.g. does the hair stay in vellus condition or does it fall out immediately? or what happens to that implanted follicle in general? see some reactions etc. would be interesting. it's completely different than playing the in-vitro game only...

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