From Rogaine to hair plugs, there have been many strides made to induce hair regrowth for bald or balding heads, but a new Japanese study found a possible cure to baldness by using stem cells.
Using stem cell therapy, scientists at the Tokyo University of Science in Japan led by Takashi Tsuki gave a hairless mouse a Mohawk by regenerating hair follicles.
Researchers used follicles from a normal mouse, namely adult epithelial stem cells and dermal papilla cell found in the skin, to create a seed of a hair follicle. Then, they implanted the newly-created seed using intracutaneous transplantation into the hairless mouse and -- Voila! -- hair.
According to the research published in Nature Communications, functional hair follicles grew on the hairless mouse properly on the skin in the epidermis, arrector pili muscle and nerve fibers. The newly regrown hair also went through a standard hair cycle of shedding and regrowth.
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 report said.
The baldness cure that worked on the hairless mice, however, has not yet been tested on humans, but the researchers hope to introduce the idea soon.
We would like to start clinical research within three to five years, so that an actual treatment to general patients can start within a decade, researcher Koh-ei Toyoshima said in a statement.
However, even if it does work on people, the issue is raised about the cost, as stem cell therapy practices can be quite costly.
View the video of the hairless mouse with hair regrowth below.