Scientists make breakthrough in hair restoration
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center may have found a new way to regrow hair in patients who already have a limited number of hair follicles. The technique, which uses a patient's own cells, generates new human hair growth, rather than simply redistributing hair follicles from one part of the scalp to another.
To conduct the study, researchers obtained dermal papilla cells, which give rise to hair follicles, from seven people with pattern baldness. The dermal papilla cells were cultured in such a way that they were allowed to grow in three-dimensional space (as opposed to a two-dimensional lab dish).
Once these cells grew into spherical droplets, they were transplanted into human skin that had been grafted onto the backs of mice. These skin grafts were made from the foreskin of infants, which does not contain hair or hair follicles.
In five of the seven samples, the transplanted dermal papilla cells induced new hair follicles to grow in the skin graft. A DNA test confirmed that these hair follicles were a genetic match to the donor.
Researchers say that while the technique appears to have potential to transform hair loss treatments, much work still to be done before it can be tested in humans