Isolation, characterization and culture maintenance of stem cells from human hair follicle mesenchyme

Stem cells and other pluripotent cells are under active investigation for the development of new therapeutic treatments to regenerate and repair diseased and damaged tissues. Published studies indicate that some mesenchymal cells derived from adult human hair follicles exhibit stem cell properties and can form different cells types if they are given specific biological signals without the need to genetically modify the cells. However, isolation of a pure stem-cell population from hair follicles, and maintenance of the pluripotent cell type during long term cell culture, has not been achieved. This project will characterize hair follicle-derived mesenchymal stem cell populations and develop techniques to isolate and maintain the cells in long term culture without the promotion of cell differentiation or senescence. The study, in partnership with a biotechnology company in British Columbia, will develop a new, accessible source of adult-derived pluripotent cells for the treatment of skin diseases and other disorders.

Feng-Tao Shi
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Kevin McElwee
Project Year: 
British Columbia