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Hair today, gone tomorrow no more: Japanese researchers find stem cells for hair regeneration



Japanese researchers have identified stem cells that are essential for hair regeneration, with a view to starting clinical research to use these cells in baldness therapy in men.

According to an article published online in the British journal Scientific Reports, Takashi Tsuji, a team leader at the government-related research institute Riken, and colleagues established in vitro culture systems and found through functional analysis that stem cells were positive for antibody CD34 and integrin. Alpha 6 and beta 5, both adhesive proteins, play important roles in continued hair regeneration along with a glycoprotein called tenascin.

“Losing hair or teeth is not life-threatening, but it does affect your quality of life,”

; Tsuji said. “I hope to start clinical trials soon.”

Biotechnology start-up Organ Technologies Inc. had led preparatory work for the study launch with partners until the work was suspended last autumn, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Riken is now asking for donations and is looking for partner companies to realize regenerative medicine for those who have lost their hair and teeth.

In the planned clinical research to cure baldness in men, Tsuji’s team plans to grow the hair follicles taken from those with the condition using a method it developed in 2007, and then implant the cultured cells back into the head.

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