Stem cells are required to kick start dying follicles or re-grow missing ones.
Until now, scientists haven’t been able to generate enough follicle-generating stem cells for satisfactory hair re-growth. “This is the first time anyone has made scalable amounts of epithelial stem cells that are capable of generating the epithelial component of hair follicles,” study leader Dr Xiaowei Xu said.
According to dermatologist Dr Rich, “When a person loses hair, they lose both types of cells”. Scientists have solved one major problem, the epithelial component of the hair follicle. They need to figure out a way to also make new dermal papillae cells”, and no one has thought that part out as yet.
Researchers anticipate that this practice will also be used to restore wounds. Now they must alter the method for humans.
There has been some achievement in treating balding using plasma rich protein (PRP) but stem cells will be more effective once the technology is established.
“It brings hope for people with hair loss,” said Dr Rich.
But lead researcher Professor Colin Jahoda, from Durham University, said it would be some time before a cure for hair loss would be developed.
Could baldness be treatable in the future? Time will tell.