Scientists have discovered a “critical breakthrough” in the cure for baldness after creating natural-looking hair from stem cells.
US researchers said they have refined a method which allowed them to grow hair through the skin of mice using dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells.
The study involved the human stem cells being combined with mice cells before they were attached to a 3D biodegradable scaffold made from the same material as dissolvable stitches.
It helped control the direction of hair growth and aided the stem cells to integrate into the skin.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Los Angeles.
“Our new protocol… overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use,” said Alexey Terskik, of Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in California.
“Now we have a robust, highly controlled method for generating natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using an unlimited source of human iPSC-derived dermal papilla cells.
“This is a critical breakthrough in the development of cell-based hair-loss therapies and the regenerative medicine field.”
Scientists are now looking at applying the same process in humans as a treatment for hair loss, claiming there is an “unlimited” supply of stem cells which can be derived from a simple blood draw.
Male pattern baldness affects around 50% of men over the age of 50, and is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors, according to the British Association of Dermatologists.
Current treatments include finasteride and minoxidil, which do not work for everyone and only work for as long as they are used.
Other treatments include steroid injections and creams applied to bald patches and hair transplants, which can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £30,000.
Source: SKY NEWS