Do Mice Hold The Cure To Baldness Or Are We Just Taking The Mickey?
2nd May 2012
Scientists in Japan have made some exciting advances in hair loss research recently, successfully using stem cells to create pigmented hair follicles that grew when implanted onto hairless mice.
In a well-publicised study, scientists from The Tokyo University of Science were able to implant human stem cells gleaned from the scalp of a balding man onto the back of hairless mice, which sprouted hairs within three weeks. What’s more interesting is that the scientists were able to control the colour and density of the hair, as well as the direction of hair growth. The results provide a further promise that, in the future, stem cells could be extracted from a man’s scalp and grown onto healthy follicles and it’s likely that the end result will help to resolve some hair loss issues.
The Farjo Medical Centre undertook very similar research a few years ago working with Intercytex plc, which yielded results that were comparable to the ones above – when two stem cells were mixed and implanted on a mouse, causing hair to grow. It’s exciting to see other researchers taking the baton, as it were, and further illustrating that a cell-base approach for treating hair loss may be feasible.
Whilst this is exciting news, this research is in very early stages. First, it will need to be proven that it can work on humans, and then clinical trials will need to take place before it becomes anywhere near a reality. When it does, it could become a great solution to hair thinning, however it probably won’t be as effective artistically as having a hair transplant. Nonetheless, I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on this one.