Despite the myriad delays, it appears that we are much closer to a realistic hair cloning or hair multiplication technology than many people thought! In a new study published April 18 in the journal Nature Communciations, Japanese scientists report that they successfully grew hair on bald mice by implanting specially bio-engineered adult stem cells into the dormant hair follicles on the mice.
According to Dr. Takashi Tsuji of Tokyo University of Science, the lead scientist on the project, the team was able to take extract two types of stem cells from the hair follicles of adult mice (epithelial stem cells and dermal papilla cells), cultivate the stem cells in a lab, and then transplant the cells into the scalps of hairless mice.
The result: Within three weeks, the new “bio-engineered” follicles began sprouting new hair! Not only that, but the new hair follicles continued to grow hair even when the hair was pulled out.
You can read the entire study by clicking here.
Needless to say, the research is yet another sign that a true treatment for baldness may not be as far away as has been supposed. The scientists predict that soon hair specialist will be able to extract “tens of thousands” of stem cells from a patient, cultivated into healthy follicles and then injected back into the bald areas of a patient’s scalp.
In this study, we successfully demonstrate fully functional bioengineered hair follicle regeneration that produces follicles that can repeat the hair cycle, connect properly with surrounding skin tissues and achieve piloerection,” the Japanese scientists concluded. “This regeneration occurs through the rearrangement of various follicular stem cells and their niches. These findings significantly advance the technological development of bioengineered hair follicle regenerative therapy.”
What appears to be novel with the Japanese technique is that it is using bio-engineered adult stems cells to “regenerate” existing but dormant hair follicles in a bald scalp. “Our bioengineered vibrissa follicle germ that was reconstituted using adult follicle-derived stem cells successfully regenerated the hair follicle following intracutaneous transplantation,” the scientists said. Other efforts have used the products of stem cells, such as cytokines and growth factors, in an effort to regenerate dormant hair follicles. But the Japansese technique appears to be a far more technical engineering of the stem cell materials themselves and then engrafting of them into the hair follicle “bulges.” “For hair follicle regeneration, the bioengineered hair germs were ectopically engrafted into the subrenal capsules of 8-week-old mice,” the scientists added.
The bottom line: As we have long insisted, research into a realistic stem cell cure for baldness is continuing worldwide. It is a slow, painful, frustrating process that is driving everyone crazy but, despite the understandable complaints of critics — who say we hear all these promises and then YEARS go by with no practical result — it appears that the research is paying off. Within the next 10 years, baldness, at least for the young, man be a thing of the past. I’m still not sure whether we will see the ultimate “Chia Pet Cure” — in which an adult man with a totally bald head sprouts hair like a Chia Pet — but even that may be possible!
Stay tuned, folks!
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