Cure baldness? We may be 10 years away from a treatment for baldness according to researcher Koh-el-Toyoshima. This will be welcomed news for men who suffer from male-pattern baldness as well as some women who see the effects of hair thinning. Japanese researchers recently published their findings in Nature Communications regarding the use of stem cells to grow hair in hairless mice.
This team of researchers was able to grow different types of hair on nude mice using stem cells from normal mice as well as balding humans. What’s nice about the use of stem cells for growing hair is that adult stem cells can be used – no need for stem cells from embryos. This enables each individual to re-grow hair using their own stem cells.
Using stem cell technology the researchers bioengineered hair follicles and then transplanted them into the nude mice.
Ninety-four percent of the hair follicles transplanted into the mice using stem cell techniques took becoming viable follicular units growing hair that underwent normal hair growth cycles. (We normally shed some hair every day. The follicle then lies dormant for a period before a new hair grows again from that follicle).The transplanted follicles/hairs made normal connections to nerves and muscles evidenced by the fact that in response to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, hairs stood up which is a normal response. This means that the follicles made the appropriate connections to nerves and muscles.
Cure Baldness: Why it’s Better to be a Mouse
Experts in the field believe that this study and stem cell research holds real promise leading to the development of treatments to cure baldness in humans, but that’s still going to take some time. Dr. Koh-el-Toyoshima hopes that clinical research on humans can begin in the next 3 to 5 years with an actual stem cell treatment for baldness within a decade. That doesn’t help anybody right now. This is one study where maybe being a laboratory animal is desirable since we now have a cure for mouse baldness. We humans have to suffer and wait a bit longer until the cure for baldness is available.
Cure baldness? Yes, perhaps with stem cell treatments.
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