Please note: This is a reprint of the interview that has taken place in March 2010 between Dr. Hitzig and TRX2.
This is the second installment of our EXCLUSIVE interview with hair transplant expert Dr. Gary Hitzig regarding the ability of ACell’s ECM technology to be implemented during hair transplant procedures. Part 1 can be found here.
ACell and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injected into the scalp prior to a hair transplant surgery.
TRX2: In 2007, a dermatology professor at the University of Pennsylvania named George Cotsarelis published a paper providing strong evidence that wound healing can contribute to follicular neogenesis if certain conditions are met. Are you familiar with this particular research? Do you think it is possible to simply wound the skin (via dermabrasion) and apply the ACell powder in order to elicit hair growth? In other words, how big of a wound is necessary on the scalp to regenerate follicles in the skin?
Dr. Hitzig: To be honest, I have an enormous stack of research that I’ve been reading through. I’m positive that paper is in there somewhere. We are definitely operating with the same mechanisms. The processes we are observing rely on producing an embryonic environment for regeneration.
In regards to your second question, that was one of the first things we tried. Here’s why it doesn’t work with ACell (unfortunately). The process of regeneration can be likened to a copy machine. In this case, what are you really copying? Defective cells? Dead hair? You need to give ACell something healthy to mimic and copy. Otherwise it will only regenerate bald skin. We are hoping to get different results with our injections during hair transplant procedures.
TRX2: A hair is a mini-organ. It makes sense that given ACell’s inability to completely reconstruct other organs like hearts, it shouldn’t be able to reconstruct a hair follicle. How do you respond to this idea?
Dr. Hitzig: Well, let’s be honest, ACell certainly has its limitations. You can’t make a heart per se, but you can certainly rebuild the muscles and nerves that a heart consists of. You need to focus on the repair. It can be modeled and then targeted for specific areas. For instance, ACell has already been used to regenerate esophagi, bladders and even ears. It’s naïve to immediately discount the technology just because it can’t regenerate a fully-functioning heart. This process is difficult and it is complicated, but it can be enhanced to obtain the desired results. The body has the innate ability to regenerate itself; it just needs a considerable amount of assistance.
Once again, the basement membrane not only regenerates the skin with great quality, it also brings in the blood supply, cells and nerves too. This not just a veneer, ACell provides all of the necessary internal structures. Read More »