Regrowing hair naturally is a solution that’s rarely heard of in hair loss treatment circles these days. If the latest study discovery from American researchers is a proven breakthrough though, the answer could lie in human stem cells.
Scientists from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in California refined a method which enabled them to grow hair through the skin of mice using dermal papilla cells that were derived from human pluripotent stem cells. The tests combined human stem cells with mice cells before they were applied to a 3D biodegradable scaffold – the same material that dissolvable stitches are made from. This scaffolding then acts as a platform which controls the direction of hair growth whilst supporting the stem cell’s integration into the skin.
“Our new protocol overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use,” said Alexey Terskikh, an associate professor in Sanford Burnham Prebys’ Development, Ageing and Regeneration Program.
“Now we have a robust, highly controlled method for generating natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using an unlimited source of human iPSC-derived dermal papilla cells.
“This is a critical breakthrough in the development of cell-based hair-loss therapies and the regenerative medicine field.”
The findings which were presented at the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) in Los Angeles also garnered praise from Dr Richard Chaffoo, a triple board certified plastic surgeon in advanced cosmetic and reconstructive procedures who said that this discovery could improve the lives of millions.
“Hair loss profoundly affects many people’s lives. A significant part of my practice involves both men and women who are seeking solutions to their hair loss.”
Whilst we’ve seen radical and expensive solutions to balding such as ‘hair banking‘ and conventional hair transplants, this latest procedure could be the least invasive and most affordable yet since the researchers say there is an “unlimited” supply of stem cells in humans which can be derived from a simple blood donation.
Proper trials on humans may still be a few years off for this procedure but the potential for curing hair loss is looking bright with no end in solutions being presented. This particular stem cell discovery which creates natural-looking hair could be the most promising and affordable one yet.