Hair-generating stem cell raises baldness cure hope
A new study published in Nature by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania shows promise for hair re-growth for bald adults. The method converts human skin cells into into epithelial stem cells.
The scientists converted the human skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by adding three genes. These iPSCs are able to change into any cell types in the body, so the researchers converted them into epithelial stem cells, which are normally found in a part of hair follicles.
When they implanted these stem cells into mice, they regenerated cell types of human skin and hair follicles, and also created recognizable hair shafts, which the team says shows promise for eventually re-growing hair in humans.
While the results are promising, lead researcher Dr. Xu explains that these cells are not yet ready for use in humans because the team has only solved one part of the problem: a hair follicle contains both epithelial cells and a certain kind of adult stem cell called dermal papillae, and they need to figure out how to create the latter.