Interview w/ Dr. Claire Higgins

hellouser

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First up, Dr. Higgins has moved away from Dr. Jahoda's and Dr. Christiano's work and is now running her own lab in London, which is awesome because this means we've got another player in the game of hair loss research.

Next, we chatted briefly about the delays with research and she mentioned that she along with many other researchers are quite busy doing many other things on the side and not just research, particularly teaching which is a full time job in itself. So all of our complaints about researchers not doing enough just got shot down, lol. But I also mentioned all the other obstacles they face from my chat with Dr. Atac and Dr. Lindner, so things move slowly for numerous reasons and well beyond the control of researchers.

Furthermore, Dr. Higgins also thinks that a cure for baldness shouldn't necessarily require something so invasive like creating follicles from scratch and then implanting them like a hair transplant (that would be quite expensive). She said that the cells within the dermal papilla get lost somewhere, essentially separate themselves from the DP... so we're probably better off figuring out a way to have them migrate back to the dermal papilla (where the cells go when they leave the DP is a mystery, but they may still remain in the vicinity of the follicle). Sidenote: I wonder now though if this would lend truth to Swisstemple's theory that reducing PGD2 would essentially clean up the follicle's environment and allow it to be 'fertilized'. Perhaps that would be needed for something like Replicel?

I asked if Replicel could be a solution and if Dermal Sheath Cup cells do in fact switch between DSC and DP cells and she said yes, they alternate (kind of like a pendulum). When asked if Replicel's method of injecting DSC cells is a potential method, she said yes as well.

Earlier this year we've been hearing a lot about Piloscopy from Dr. Carlos Wesley where the follicle is cut in half and then implanted into the recipient area and having some anectotal evidence of regeneration. But if you guys saw my thread where I posted her presentation on a 'Pint of Science' she mentioned that the follicle CAN regenerate, but smaller. So, even if regeneration is possible in terms of 1 to 1, we're really only double what's available and most people have about 6,000 grafts available to use from donor hair. So anyway, the human head has anywhere from 80/90,000 hairs to around 110,000 hairs, depending on many different variables. So let's do estimates and math;

If you go full Norwood 7 bald, then you're going to lose about 175-200cm/2 of an area of hair. For that, you'd need about 12,000 - 16,000 thousand grafts to fill the entire bald scalp with FULL original density at around 60-90 grafts per 1cm/2 (these are rough numbers). So 16,000 is the high end. And since most people only have around 6,000 grafts available, we're about 1/3rd of the way there. So even if you were to do a mega session hair transplant all at once and all follicles did regenerate, you're still about 2/3rd of the way there.

So that's still not enough, even if you regenerate it all. PLUS, even if it does regenerate, the hair's are thinner anyway, so what good is thin hair that likely looks vellus? Dr. Higgins did mention one interesting detail though; it's possible for a miniturized mouse follicle to return to it's full size after a COMPLETE hair cycle (anagen, catagen and telogen). But in humans hair on the scalp grows for about 7 years, so you'd be waiting a long time to see if the same was possible. I asked if plucking it would get around this wait period, and she said maybe (again there is evidence in mice, but not men). But plucking THAT much hair would be nuts. I should also mention there was another presentation about plucking hairs and regeneration, I think it someting to do with the number of hairs and their proximity. I'll post more about that in another thread. But another thought; why not go beyond the typical donor limitation with Piloscopy and let the hairs regenerate on their own. I'm fairly certain that framing the face with a proper hairline and dense hair is far more important than the hair at the back of your head that nobody cares to see anyway.

Oh, one more thing, I also met with Dr. Cooley and asked about ACELL's effect on regeneration and the follicle being cut in half, he said that the cut has to be JUST RIGHT in order for that to happen.

Finally, in her Pint of Science video there was a comment she made about 'rollers with spikes'. To clarify on this, there was just an idea from her that it would be great to have a device that would deposit DPs into the scalp as it's being rolled. This device obviously doesn't exist, but it's definitely one that would be pretty cool. She also mentioned that it would have to know the depth of which the DPs are being deposited into, because it also relies on the depth, I can't remember, but certain elements coming into play to allow the follicle to grow relying on epithelial cells, dermis and epidermis, don't quote me on that though.

I also asked whether it'd be possible to inject DP cells directly into the follicle's dermal papilla, but this would be an arduous process, and you would most likely destroy the host DP.

So, that's about it. One more thing from me; ARI, the team that was working on DP cell injections funded by Aderans, is now being shopped around. I think Dr. Higgins would be the perfect candidate to pickup and lead the project as it's (I believe) closely related. It'd be pretty great because it only needs Phase III trials and it's basically set for commercial use. I wonder though, if it could be release in Japan right now?? It's gone through so many years of trials and the FDA is really strict... Japan should give it a pass based on all the safety results.

Finally, I want to say a very big thank you to Dr. Claire Higgins for also (like others I interviewed) putting up with my ignorance on the matter of hair loss research. I really did feel pretty primitive among so many great minds at the congress. So, many many thanks from me and the forum members!
 

Jaym

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Great work man. Did you suggest to Higgins that she buys that company out? Did she mention any interest? Would be awesome.
 

orkun

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hi hellouser
hair cloning dead?
now the team gave up cloning?
thanks...
 

hellouser

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Great work man. Did you suggest to Higgins that she buys that company out? Did she mention any interest? Would be awesome.

In my last email to Dr. Higgins, I did mention that I believe she'd be a great candidate to take over and lead the project, Aderans/ARI focused on DP cells so it's pretty close to the work she is already doing. I didn't talk about this venture with her during my meeting unfortunately, I don't think I knew ARI was for sale at the time. I also don't know if she's aware of ARI being for sale either. But, besides Dr. Jahoda, I can't think of anyone else in the world that would be better suited for the project than Dr. Higgins. AFAIK, the intellectual property to purchase the ARI project (along with Intercytex) is relatively inexpensive, however costs of running a lab and finishing trials would definitely be high.

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hi hellouser
hair cloning dead?
now the team gave up cloning?
thanks...

I don't think I'd use the term 'hair cloning' but there are multiple approaches being done to create more follicles to create a full head of hair. I do know that ALL of the teams and researchers DEFINITELY want to push forward with a real-world use of their methods to create hair, but as I mentioned in another post, there's a lot of other factors that inhibit them from doing so, mostly being either financial or regulatory red-tape, somethings that they have no control over.

Ideally, you'd want reform to governing health agencies and so far, only Japan and South Korea are making it easier for biotechs to come out with cell based therapies because they KNOW these regulations will boost their economies by an incredible amount, not just through medical care, but also tourism as people from outside of Japan will have to stay in hotels, eat and more than likely will explore the area. Think about it; you'll need to pay for a flight, a hotel, be in Japan for a few days, come back weeks later once cells are cultivated. Would you rather wait for a treatment in USA or go to Japan whenever it's available? I have no doubt that this is a financially driven move by Japan and the US is lagging badly...hopefully that 21st Century Act will change things.. otherwise, USA is going to be ridiculously behind.
 

Baldie_86

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Earlier this year we've been hearing a lot about Piloscopy from Dr. Carlos Wesley where the follicle is cut in half and then implanted into the recipient area and having some anectotal evidence of regeneration. But if you guys saw my thread where I posted her presentation on a 'Pint of Science' she mentioned that the follicle CAN regenerate, but smaller. So, even if regeneration is possible in terms of 1 to 1, we're really only double what's available and most people have about 6,000 grafts available to use from donor hair. So anyway, the human head has anywhere from 80/90,000 hairs to around 110,000 hairs, depending on many different variables.

Well, I though that the graft were limited because otherwise the donor area will look too thin if too many graft are extracted.
But, if we could regenerate the follicles, we could hypotetically extract every single hair of the safe area and have a full head of hair again.
 

hellouser

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Well, I though that the graft were limited because otherwise the donor area will look too thin if too many graft are extracted.
But, if we could regenerate the follicles, we could hypotetically extract every single hair of the safe area and have a full head of hair again.

This is also true. However, you'd essentially need to pay the price of THREE hair transplants to get full original density if you're an NW7.
 

Mach

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Dr. Cooley did a study on plucking and the survival rate was 30% and the hair was thinner. Acell didn't seem to help survival rates. This is just by memory so I could be off.

RCI-2 from Replicel is a dermal injector.

Cutting the follicle in half well maybe 7/8 was Coles reasoning for regeneration with Acell. You hit the I believe button or pass that's your choice. I believe it was Cooley that showed slides of an Acell extraction site vs normal FUE and hands down Acell looked better.

I'm going to Cole's office next month. Let me know if there is anything I could ask him. I think he was at the conference as well. he's usually pretty mum on things.

Thanks again!
 

Jaym

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Dr. Cooley did a study on plucking and the survival rate was 30% and the hair was thinner. Acell didn't seem to help survival rates. This is just by memory so I could be off.

RCI-2 from Replicel is a dermal injector.

Cutting the follicle in half well maybe 7/8 was Coles reasoning for regeneration with Acell. You hit the I believe button or pass that's your choice. I believe it was Cooley that showed slides of an Acell extraction site vs normal FUE and hands down Acell looked better.

I'm going to Cole's office next month. Let me know if there is anything I could ask him. I think he was at the conference as well. he's usually pretty mum on things.

Thanks again!

Could you ask him more about his idea to venture into mexico, he said he wanted to get $1/graft FUE I believe. Or maybe FUT can't remember. Thanks! And good luck.
 

Bagels

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I wonder if we may be among the last generation of baldies or the first generation who gets it fixed. Hopefully these and other treatments can come out before its too late for us.
 

F2005

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I like the way Dr. Higgins thinks. I agree that stimulating hair regrowth from within (getting the improperly functioning dermal papilla cells to produce hair again) would be a much more effective, less invasive, and less costly approach than growing hair outside of the body and then transplanting it onto a person's head. Dr. Higgins's school of thought would better facilitate creating a full head because if a method was developed where these cells were able to migrate back to the dermal papilla, then a full head of hair could be much more easily created since the dermal papilla would once again function the way they had before Androgenetic Alopecia took hold. Do you know how much labor, time, money, and invasive surgery it would take to achieve a similar result through transplanting hair from outside of the body??!!!


It is also interesting to hear Dr. Higgins's views on Dr. Wesley's piloscopy technique. I totally suspected that some kind "pluck-regenerate-pluck-regenerate" method would not only be ineffective, but it would degrade the quality of the hair follicle to the point where it is not cosmetically significant at all. And quite honestly since hair transplantation is so flawed, and these hair transplant surgeons really do not demonstrate any type of willingness or commitment to develop anything outside of the realm of hair transplantation, I really do not have any faith in them at all.


But Dr. Higgins on the other hand, I have a tremendous amount of faith in. She seems exceptionally intelligent, knowledgeable, committed, and ethical. I think Dr. Higgins would be the ideal person to pick up ARI's efforts and I'd love to see that possibility become a reality. I hope she reads a forum like this one because I'd like to take the time to thank her for her efforts, as well as taking the time to answer Hellouser's questions.


And to Hellouser, thanks so much again for doing all of this!!!
 

paleocapa89

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I was wondering, has anyone ever tried transplanting a miniaturized hair follicle from a patent's scalp to the back of his head? And if yes, what happened? I think that should put and end to the question whether the hair follicle it self or the surrounding is the root of the problem.

(sorry if it was already done and my question is futile)
 

Armando Jose

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I was wondering, has anyone ever tried transplanting a miniaturized hair follicle from a patent's scalp to the back of his head? And if yes, what happened? I think that should put and end to the question whether the hair follicle it self or the surrounding is the root of the problem.

(sorry if it was already done and my question is futile)

It is more complicated
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12269871
[h=1]Does the recipient site influence the hair growth characteristics in hair transplantation?[/h]
... These results strongly suggest that the recipient site affects some characteristics of transplanted hairs, such as their growth and survival rates.
 

bobby dearfield

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you know what happens?

it grows again, it becomes normal again!! the miniaturized hair grows big. It is the environment!!

it has been proved in a 2002 study where they implanted miniaturized hair follicles into mice and they resumed their normality. 2002!!!
 

paleocapa89

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you know what happens?

it grows again, it becomes normal again!! the miniaturized hair grows big. It is the environment!!

it has been proved in a 2002 study where they implanted miniaturized hair follicles into mice and they resumed their normality. 2002!!!


Yes I read that but it was an immunodeficient mouse if I remember correctly, and apparently mice can grow hair anywhere with anything. I was more curious if a man's miniaturized hair follicle could turn back to normal on his own head if it is moved to the back.
 

Solomon

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Yes I read that but it was an immunodeficient mouse if I remember correctly, and apparently mice can grow hair anywhere with anything. I was more curious if a man's miniaturized hair follicle could turn back to normal on his own head if it is moved to the back.

I think it will not regrow. Androgen sensitive follicle will remain sensitive to androgens on the back of the scalp as well.
 

bobby dearfield

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I think it will not regrow. Androgen sensitive follicle will remain sensitive to androgens on the back of the scalp as well.


I think it will!

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it is immunodeficient so as to not reject the human follicle. But once a damaged follicle regained its normality it is proven that it is a reversible condition, and that was the aim of the study. The miniaturization is reversible.
 

Swoop

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It is more complicated
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12269871
Does the recipient site influence the hair growth characteristics in hair transplantation?


... These results strongly suggest that the recipient site affects some characteristics of transplanted hairs, such as their growth and survival rates.

Hey Armando, I know you were always interested in the patterning. There you go might be of interest to you;



I have read another publication about this but can't find the study anymore.
 

Armando Jose

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Thank you very much for your input. Have you a link to the study?

Then, swoop, you are convinced that exist genetically differents hair over the human scalp.

I disagree, I think that all scalp hairs are identical, even between sexes, and Hamilton studies are not very relevant for me.

BTW this is a interesting study about hair scalp in neonates
http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v43/n3/pdf/jid1964133a.pdf
 
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