Stem cell research has been the center of attention in the scientific world for the past few decades. This promising yet highly controversial research has also been the subject of many scientific debates. While it may hold the key to many incurable diseases, there is still a long way to go before a stem cell cure may be made available to the public.
For many years, a stem cell cure was completely out of question due to the controversies surrounding the topic because of its extensive use of embryonic stem cells and low success rate. However, more recently, scientists have been trying to revert differentiated cells from adult donors into their pluripotent form for the purpose of their research. However, to date, success rate of such research remains low.
A lot of research has been done regarding stem cells including their ability to cure hair loss. In a study conducted by the Hair and Scalp Clinics in Clearwater, Fla. researchers showed some promising results in people suffering from Alopecia Areata. The basis of this study is stem cell research and it uses the patient’s own platelet-rich plasma. Although, the study has shown some positive immediate effects, long-term effects and side effects remain unknown.
Another recent study reported by the Journal of Clinical Investigation has shown that some signals need to be sent to the stem cells for them to regenerate hair. In the event that scientists can do this, a cure may become possible. Currently though, this study has only been conducted on men, and it is not known as to how females may respond to this treatment. The aforementioned research may seem promising but before one has to consider the plethora of research that has already been done yet yielded no concrete stem cell cure for hair loss. Case in point, the research done by University of Pennsylvania’s school of Medicine in 2004, which managed to isolate stem cells responsible for hair follicle growth treatments. At that point of time, it was considered very promising and was featured in various scientific journals. However, so far it has not resulted in a practical hair loss treatment.
In conclusion, it’s unlikely that 2012 will see a stem cell cure for hair loss. However, the research is continuing slowly but steadily. Stem cell research is slowly uncovering the actual mechanisms behind hair loss… and the more scientists discover about what causes the minaturization that leads to baldness, the sooner they will be able to develop treatments that stop these mechanisms in their tracks and even reverse them.
That is why most experts still believe that stem cell research to cure hair loss still looks promising. The “cure” we are all searching for will NOT come this year, in 2012, but may well arrive in this decade, before 2020. Stay tuned!
Susan Thompson is a health writer who blogs about hair loss technologies.
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