stem cellNew research carried out by a team from the Los Angeles University of Southern California, has revealed a step-by-step guide to hair growth. The researchers have successfully managed to grow new hair from stem cells; providing hope they could be used to treat baldness in the future. Here, we’ll look at the findings of the research and whether stem cells truly could be the future of hair loss treatment.

Understanding the research

The team started the research to try to unearth the actual process of how hair follicles grow through the skin. They wanted to see how stem cell clusters known as organoids, could produce hair. They started by using a 3D structure of skin cell organoids, taken from both adult and new-borns. Cells were transplanted into nude mice and in-depth time-lapsed images were taken to monitor how the cells behaved and to get an idea of how hair is developed. Interestingly, it was discovered that only the new-born skin cells caused hair to develop on the mice, the adult cells didn’t produce hair at all. It also gave the researchers a thorough insight into how the skin cells did produce hair and it occurred in a six-step process. Prior to transplantation, progenitor cells quickly aggregated, before turning into polarised cysts. These in turn transformed into coalesced cysts, before developing into planar skin. Finally, the skin started to produce follicles and these were then transplanted into the mice. The hair then began to grow. All of this enabled the researchers to identify key molecules which are responsible for the cell transformation. It also gave them a good idea of how inhibiting the activity of numerous genes throughout the different stages, could elucidate their job in the transition between the different stages.

What does this mean for hair loss treatment?

The discovery made from this new research is significant and does provide hope that stem cells could be used to help those with hair loss develop new, healthy hair. However, it’s going to take years before a solution like this can be provided as a successful cure. In the meantime, there are effective treatments out there which can help to minimise, cover up and eliminate the problem, helping patients to regain their confidence. Overall, the cause of your hair loss will need to be determined before a treatment can be suggested. So, be sure to visit a doctor or hair specialist before trying any shop-bought solution.

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By Ian Watson

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