Updated on February 2, 2017
GoFund Sanford-Burnham Hair Stem Cells
The research led by Alexey Terskikh at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has grown very popular on the internet over the past several months. The work was even featured in our Ultimate Guide to Hair Regeneration a few months ago. Terskikh’s technology is based on taking human pluripotent stem cells, programming them to differentiate into dermal papillae cells, and then injecting those DP cells back into a scalp to grow hair. Terskikh notes that his method is superior to another popular method of extracting DP cells directly from a scalp and culturing them to be re-injected, because there are issues about DP cells’ ability to induce hair follicle formation after being outside the body. That is an interesting point that I did not pick up on when I first read about the research.
One thing I did pick up on when I first became acquainted with the team from SB, was that they were interested in turning their laboratory-based research into a commercial treatment to be used on humans. I offered the sentiment of “Hallelujah” in a previous article about their aspirations. Somehow, I did not notice that Sanford-Burnham has a donation page where you can make a contribution specifically for the hair research program.
There have been a few eye-catching comments from potential contributors on the Sanford-Burnham Beaker Blog. One commenter on the blog claimed to donate $25,000 to the project and stated that he had “many colleagues who would be interested in making similar donations.” That prompted a response from Alexey Terskikh himself who thanked the man for his donation. Another commenter claimed he would be interested in donating several hundred thousand dollars if it would “pick up the pace” of the research. I love this world. (laughs) Pretty interesting stuff happens when you show the world the promise of a hair cure and ask for support.
Where they’re at now
Sanford-Burnham hasn’t posted any news since the original article was published. I’m going to go out on a limb though, and say that since this thing called ‘the internet’ exists, that some business people with lots of money in their pockets have knocked on the door at S-B to discuss furthering the research. It just makes sense. Things could already be underway, we don’t know for sure until they tell us. One thing we do know is, the technology sounds great and we want Alexey and his team to win big for sure.
Feel free to share this article with any major philanthropic organizations or individuals. The few million dollars that it would take to get this research underway is well accounted for in the popular demand of society. If everyone in the world who was seriously interested in hair regeneration donated $5, they would probably have about $200 billion to work with. The resources are there, the donation campaign could just use a moment in the spotlight in order to be seen by the right people.