Translating Our Findings Into Autologous Cell Therapies
RepliCel’s current research activity is focused on the company’s core understanding of the unique biological function of hair follicle cells. Two distinct autologous cell therapy platforms are currently in development. The first is based on the Company’s non-bulbar dermal sheath fibroblast platform and currently includes treatments for chronic tendinosis and skin aging. The second is the Company’s dermal sheath cup (DSC) cell platform for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness).
RCT-01 – Treatment for Tendinosis
The product development path of RCT-01 effectively began in 2008 when RepliCel’s collaborator, Dr. David Connell, began focusing on skin-derived fibroblasts as a treatment for tendinosis. Dr. Connell hypothesized that the main underlying reason of chronic tendinosis was a deficit of tenocytes (fibroblasts) in the tendon. As these fibroblasts are responsible for producing type I collagen, the primary collagen in human tendon, it was theorized that injection of collagen-producing fibroblasts into the injury site could initiate normalized healing of the tendon. Dr. Connell conducted three Phase 1 clinical trials using this approach producing evidence that treatment of tendinosis with autologous expanded skin-derived fibroblasts was both safe and effective and should be explored in larger human trials. In 2011, RepliCel began collaborating with Dr. Connell on the development of this technology. Based on the knowledge that fibroblasts from the dermal sheath of a hair follicle can produce upwards of five times the amount of type I collagen than skin-derived fibroblasts. RepliCel has expanded on Dr.Connell’s research with the intention of conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial in 2014.
RCH-01 – Treatment for Pattern Baldness
The product development path of RCH-01 effectively began in 2000/03 when RepliCel’s founding scientists; Drs. McElwee and Hoffmann; began focusing on dermal sheath cup (DSC) cells. Together they hypothesized that these DSC cells were a reservoir of cells that were responsible for the continued health of the hair follicle and the normal cycling of the hair fibre. They believed that if these DSC cells were in deficit due to sensitivity to androgen hormones (the cause of pattern baldness), then isolating these same cells from a patient’s own scalp in an area where the cells are unaffected by androgen and moving them to the affected area would resolve the cellular deficit and rejuvenate the hair fibre producing cycle. Multiple experiments on mice demonstrated that hair follicle DSC cells could induce new follicular growth as well as cause resident hair follicles to grow thicker and longer. The scientists’ landmark study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Investigative Dermatology© in 2003. Together, the scientists filed patent applications that, to date, have been issued in Europe, Australia, the US and Japan, with additional patents pending in other jurisdictions.
These results have led the company to believe in the effectiveness of the procedure and its potential to become a solution to hair loss for those suffering with pattern baldness.
For details on our Phase I Safety and Efficacy Study of Human Autologous Hair Follicle Cells to Treat Androgenetic Alopecia please visit the Clinical Trials website.
To view a poster presentation given at the 7th World Congress for Hair Research in Edinburgh, Scotland or to view a published paper on our pre-clinical work, please see the publications section of our website.