Program leaders: Markus Frank, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, and George F. Murphy, M.D., Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School and Director, Program in Dermatopathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Scientists in the HSCI Skin Program are using stem cells to regenerate tissue without scarring.
Because scars are made of fibrous tissue, they can seriously impair the function of an organ. To investigate how stem cells function in regenerative wound healing, cancers, and skin aging, and how they malfunction in scarring and fibrosis, we explore the fundamental roles of skin stem cells in health and disease.
The insights we gain help us explore the reprogramming of skin cells to repair any part of the body.
Our scientists use a very wide range of experimental resources to explore how to target skin cancer stem cells therapeutically, and how skin stem cell health and maintenance could thwart chronological aging.
What we have achieved so far
So far, scientists in the HSCI Skin Program have:
- Developed a biodegradable scaffold for regenerative wound healing
- Discovered cancer stem cells that drive melanoma
- Identified immunoregulatory and highly plastic dermal stem cells
- Regenerated the cornea using limbal stem cells
- Discovered that immune cells target epithelial stem cells in human face transplantation
- Deployed hair follicle stem cells for skin regeneration
- Elucidated the epigenetic/stem cell pathways responsible for skin cancer aggressiveness.
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