Japanese researchers have been working on a new hair regeneration program, raising hopes for a cure for baldness.
Bioengineered hair follicles created from stem cells have been transplanted into the skin of hairless mice by a team of specialists from Tokyo University of Science led by professor Takashi Tsuji.
The transplanted follicles produced normal hair on the mice. The hair continued to regenerate itself in normal growth cycles, after old hairs fell out.
Even if normally stem cells have to be extracted from embryos to produce good results, the researchers proved that hair follicles grow fine even if adult stem cells are used.
“Our current study thus demonstrates the potential for not only hair regeneration therapy but also the realisation of bioengineered organ replacement using adult somatic stem cells,” the researchers concluded in their study, which was published by the online science magazine Nature Communications.
They added that they would like to start clinical research within three to five years, so that an actual treatment to general patients can start within a decade.