New research could make baldness a fashion statement not a symbol of loss

16/12/2014

It’s great that the profile of hair loss in men is greater than it ever was. Men are not so afraid of talking about their receding hairlines and, consequently are more likely to be doing something about it. To compliment this new era scientists are forever researching into new ways to confront hair loss and as we look back on 2014 one of the scientific breakthroughs could well make hair loss a thing of the past and make baldness an optional fashion statement.

 

Experiments in their early stages

We should say straight away that as much as this new research looks very positive for curing hair loss it could be some time in coming yet. The experiments are very much in their early stages but reports are coming back that scientists have found a way to create hair follicles from human stem cells. It should also be taken into consideration that even at this stage scientists expect the stem cell option to be one of the more expensive options when and if it is finally available.

 

How the research took place

The researchers at the University of Pennsylvania grew stem cells from human skin. They then converted these stem cells into epithelial stem cells (found in the bulge of a hair follicle they are required for hair and skin growth and renewal) – which can create the different types of cells that make up the varying levels of skin, such as the epidermis (the outer layer of skin). When the cells were injected into mice they found that they were able to grow human hair like structures. At this stage scientists are very optimistic that this could well lead to new remedies for hair loss and other degenerative skin disorders.

However there is a need for further experimentation to investigate growing sebaceous cells and also to determine that the hair follicle derived from a stem cell grows in a normal way over time.

 

Early days

The researchers have not been totally happy about how this story has been covered in the media with some reports stating that the process could provide limitless supplies of hair for balding men. These are unrealistic expectations at this time; indeed until experimentation has made further in- roads into the findings to investigate long-term processes; it may not yet really be seen as a product that will be available in the near future. But there is no doubt these first few steps are highly encouraging.

Watch this space!

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