April 19, 2012- Researchers in Japan were able to successfully grow hair on mice that were hairless. The scientists implanted hair follicles that were created from stem cells, said the study’s lead researcher Takashi Tsuji. The announcement immediately raised hopes that a cure was near for baldness.
At the University of Science in Tokyo, a group of scientists bioengineered the hair follicles and then transplanted them onto mice that were hairless. Eventually the mice grew hair, which regenerated in continual normal cycles of growth with normal every day hair loss, taking place.
In general, when stems cells are cultivated into organs or tissues, they must be extracted from embryos. However, Tsuji and the other researchers discovered that the hair follicles could be grown with adult stem cells.
Tsuji said, “The new study not only demonstrates the potential for hair regeneration but the realization of organ replacement that was bioengineered using adult stem cells.”
Existing and new technologies are expected to help improve baldness treatments and possibly allow people to utilize their own cells as implants, giving them their own hair. One of the researchers said they planned to start within 36 to 48 months clinical research so an actual treatment can start for general patients within the next 10 years.