- A team of researchers from Japan may have discovered the cure for baldness.
- The RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research used stem cells and a specific culture mechanism to create hair follicles that can recycle hair just like natural follicles.
- Any hair regeneration treatment should produce hair that can grow back after it falls out. The stem cell therapy yielded the hair follicles that went through at least three hair cycles with normal hair production in laboratory tests.
Many people have tried to cure a medical condition that affects millions of people around the world, with men mainly affected by it. Baldness can be triggered by specific drug therapies, such as cancer treatment, and some survivors of COVID-1
Baldness does not affect one’s health, but it can take an emotional toll on those affected by it. There are various treatments for baldness, but there is no cure that can reverse the process. Now, however, a team in Japan may have found a solution to restore hair growth using stem cells.
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The researchers used stem cells to make the hair follicles that can grow hair after it falls out. This is how hair growth should work. Hair loss is natural, but each strand of hair should be replaced with a new one that grows back into place. RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research researchers published an article in Scientific reports (via Futurism) which describes their progress with mammalian stem cells.
They took fur and cheek cells from mice and then cultured them in the laboratory along with other ingredients. They used 220 combinations and found that a type of collagen paired with five factors (NFFSE medium) would lead to the highest rate of stem cell amplification in the shortest possible time. The RIKEN team explained that a successful treatment of hair regeneration that can cure baldness must produce hair that is recycled. This means that the hair can grow back after falling out naturally.
These researchers combined biotechnological hair follicle stem cells with the NFFSE medium, as well as with the medium that lacked one of the ingredients. They observed the regenerated hair for three weeks and discovered that the NFFSE medium allowed the hair follicles to go through at least three cycles of normal hair production. The second medium was not as effective, with 79% of the follicles producing only one hair cycle.
The researchers also found that a specific marker on the surface of cells grown in the NFFSE medium favored hair cycling. “We found that almost 80% of the follicles reached three hair cycles when Itgβ5 was also biotechnologically developed in the hair follicle bacterium,” said author Makoto Takeo in a statement. “On the other hand, only 13% reached three cycles when it was not present.”
“Our cultural system establishes a method of cyclic regeneration of the hair follicles from the hair follicle stem cells and will help make hair follicle regeneration therapy a reality in the near future,” said Takashi Tsuji, lead author of the study.
Before this baldness becomes commercially available, it must pass clinical trials. So far, RIKEN researchers have demonstrated stem cell therapy in preclinical laboratory tests. Tsuji said the institute is looking for external partners to help develop clinical applications for the new hair growth technology.
The entire study is available at this link.
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