A Cure for Baldness May be Around the Corner
If you are one of millions of men or women who are losing their hair, hope may be soon be around the corner. Researchers in the US and Great Britain recently were able to generate new hair follicles that actually grow human hair potentially revolutionizing hair loss treatment.
Though we typically think of hair loss or balding as a problem affects only men, I actually have more women come to my practice expressing concern about losing their hair. That’s probably because women don’t expect to see their hair thin, so when it does happen they come to the office looking for help.
In the past we’ve discussed the use of stem cells as a cure for baldness. What the researchers in the US and Great Britain did recently is different. They took the cells that comprise the hair follicle and cloned them in the laboratory. They then implanted the follicles in mice grafted with human skin. In 70% of the cases the skin grafted to the mice grew new hair. Not perfect, but pretty good results for starters.
Besides using the cloned hair follicles for traditional hair transplantation, the scientists believe there are other applications of the cloning technique. Potentially, it could be used to enable skin grafts used to treat burn victims to grow hair for the first time.
They also think that it might be possible to inject the cloned follicles into the scalp of balding men rather than transplanting existing follicles from one area of the scalp to another that is now done during hair transplantation.
Another application with this cloning technique is that it may facilitate the development of new drugs to grow hair as in theory there could be an unlimited supply of hair follicles to experiment on as they will be able to grow hair follicles in the lab as they need them to test on
So between stem cells and cloning a cure for baldness may one day be available.