Research On Stem Cells Promise New Hair Loss Treatments

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scientist in laboratory work
scientist in laboratory work

New hair loss treatments

In general, human hair follows a normal growth cycle. There is a period for growth and there is a period for rest. The period for growth is known as the “anagen” phase. It usually lasts for two years. During the anagen phase, the hair strands will grow at an average of half an inch on a monthly basis. As for the rest period or the “telogen” phase, hair growth is put to a halt. Such will last for four months. After such phase, the hair starts to shed.

As suggested by previous studies made, people shed at least a hundred strands of hair on a daily basis. But that hair shed remains unnoticed primarily because of the fact that we also re-grow hair regularly as well. As people age however, they will experience gradual hair thinning. However, if the rate of the hair shed exceeds the rate of hair re-growth, then the person might be suffering from a hair loss condition.

When a person has a hair loss condition often referred to as “alopecia”, the anagen phase of the hair is reduced. As a result, the hair strands become very thin and quite frail. In some cases, hair follicles are also affected. When this happens, hair re-growth is hampered because the follicles are no longer capable of promoting hair growth. Instead, they loosen up and then the strands fall out quite easily. If hair loss condition is hereditary, then the baldness will not be cured. It will only progress overtime and the patient should resort to various hair restoration medications.

A new study opens new doors of opportunities

A study conducted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania noted that stem cell research might open new opportunities for the discovery of new hair loss treatments. Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania note that studies on the stem cells that prompt the growth of hair follicles may be the foundation for the discovery of innovative hair loss and skin grafting treatments. They hypothesized that hair re-growth stems from the cells that are at the base of the hair follicle. As such, by correcting the abnormalities in the hair follicle cells, hair loss might be corrected.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania claim that the stem cells which are located at the follicle bulge make hair growth possible. In order to verify if their theory is right, the researchers made use of various cell labeling techniques in order to monitor the stem cell decedents of the normal anagen phase. They then isolated such cells in adult mice. They transferred a group of these cells to the skin of a special group of mice which were unable to reject stem cell transplants because they did not have immune systems.

After four weeks after the transplantation, the hair follicle cells were able to promote the construction of new hair follicles. These new hair follicles were then able to produce new hair. This study is important primarily because it suggests that hair growth can be manipulated through the isolation and the cultivation of stem cells. Dr. George Cotsarelis, Director of the Penn Hair and Scalp Clinic and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University noted that this study shows that stem cell transplantation can be used as a hair loss treatment in the future.

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