Researchers in Orlando have successfully grown individual hairs, coaxing stem cells to become dermal papilla cells which are vital to follicle formation. These cells make up the top two layers of our skin and trigger nearby cells to produce hair follicles; if they stop working, it will lead to baldness. One of the challenges which has faced researchers previously is how to multiply dermal papilla cells, which lose their potency and ability to stimulate hair growth when multiplied; this has left every previous experiment with more, but less effective cells! Now, by using stem cells, scientists have been able to create an almost unlimited supply of these cells whilst still retaining their natural ability to stimulate healthy hair growth - a phenomenal breakthrough in hairloss research.
Associate Professor at Sanford-Burnham who conducted some of the research said 'Our stem cell method provides an unlimited source of cells from the patient for transplantation and isn't limited by the availability of existing hair follicles. Our next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects.'
It is estimated that 1.5billion men and women suffer from hairloss worldwide and whilst not necessarily a cure, this breakthrough could be vital to understanding hairloss and could potentially pave the way for affordable, long-lasting hair transplants and more research.
Speaking to Mark Blake, Trichologist he said “Scientists have taken the next step in unravelling the mystery of growing new hair. They have successfully grown hair on Nude mice using blank slate cells. The next step of the journey is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from stem cells back into humans. The final step of the journey could be just round the corner"
Mark Blake Trichology: http://www.markblake.co.uk