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[2020/05/13] “MOST Out Standing Research Award" series 4: Dr. Chen, NNYMU Department of Medicine and Clinical Medicine

Associate Professor Dr. Chen of the Department of Medicine and Clinical Medicine, currently serving as Director of the Department of Dermatology at Taipei Veterans General Hospital

 

Dr. Chih-Chiang Chen of the Department of Medicine and Clinical Medicine won the Ministry of Science and Technology “2019 Outstanding Research Award” for his research in the field of dermatology. Dr. Chen is currently the Director of the Department of Dermatology at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He has devoted his research to the regulation of hair stem cells and has made a number of breakthroughs that have received lots of praise.

 

In the past, scientists believed that the activation of hair stem cells was only affected by the microenvironment of the hair follicles. However, Dr. Chen’s research has shown that the macroenvironment outside the hair follicles also plays an important role in the regulation stem cell hibernation and regeneration. In addition, Dr. Chen has also found that, under physiological conditions, the poor hair regeneration caused by aging is a result of an increase in the inhibitory factors and a decrease in the activation factors present in the macroenvironment outside the hair follicle.

 

A recent study by Dr. Chen and his team has discovered further details of this control, namely that appropriate micro damage is able to promote coordinated cooperation between different organs in order to produce more efficient regeneration. The research shows that by properly plucking a certain density of hair, this will induce fivefold more regeneration of hair including the plucked and unplucked hair. This efficient regeneration has been called “quorum sensing” by the team. The regenerative reaction caused by this organ-level “group induction phenomenon” was first discovered in animals. It also has brought a new concept to regenerative medicine. Well-known media outlets that publish medically related articles, including “Scientific American”, “Conservation”, “The Los Angeles Times” and “the BBC” have reported this research and affirmed to the general public this major discovery in the field of regenerative medicine.

 

This interesting research also triggered a new target for the team; this is whether it is possible to start hair regeneration by just putting tension on hair without the need to actually remove the hair. Dr. Chen and his team designed a skin brace device. Based on the results obtained using this device, they found that an appropriate amount of skin tension is able to indeed induce efficient regeneration of hair stem cells through an immune response, just like cluster induction. This series of studies by Dr. Chen and his team confirms that the environment outside the hair follicles, especially the immune response, plays a very important role in the regulation of stem cells. Specifically, this suggests that regulation of the stem cell environment, in the absence of direct regulation of the stem cells themselves, results in a more efficient regeneration reaction.

 

Dr. Chen and his team were very happy and honored to be able to receive the Ministry of Science and Technology Outstanding Research Award. They would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology, National Yang Ming University and Taipei Veterans General Hospital for their support and their affirmation of the team’s research. In the future, Dr. Chen’s laboratory intends to continue their research on hair stem cells, and hope to be able to apply this research in a clinical setting in order to help patients who are suffering from baldness. Dr. Chen also hopes that his research will provide new insights into the broader field of regenerative medicine and thus be able to help patients with other degenerative diseases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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