Will Laboratory Discovery Lead to Better Treatments for Baldness?
The New York Times reports on the latest scientific advances in hair restoration, finding that scientists have found a new way to grow hair that they theorize may lead to better treatments for baldness.
The report, New Technique Holds Promise for Hair Growth, by Denise Grady, focuses on a new study from Dr. Angela Christiano published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. By the name of the study, "Microenvironmental reprogramming by three-dimensional culture enables dermal papilla cells to induce de novo human hair-follicle growth," a layman might not even realize it has anything to do with advancing hair growth techniques.
Dr. Christiano is a hair geneticist and dermatology professor at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Interestingly, Grady's story notes that Dr. Christiano’s interest in the science of hair was inspired in part by her own experience with hair loss. The same was true for Dr. Arocha, who has experienced hair transplantation as a patient.
The New York Times story describes a new technique that would remove "dermal papillae," which are groups of cells at the base of hair follicles that give rise to the follicles. The dermal papillae are cultured in the laboratory to increase their numbers, and then injected back into the person’s head to fill in bald or thinning spots.
To date, the technique has managed to grow hairs on human skin grafted onto mice, but it has not been tested on humans. Nonetheless, the published study found that new hair follicles grew in five of the seven grafts, and tests proved that they were human follicles and not mouse ones.
If the research pans out, the scientists say, it could produce a treatment for hair loss that would be more effective and useful to more people than current remedies like drugs or hair transplants.
As you might expect, there is quite a bit of excitement whenever such a study is published. In fact, several companies are already experimenting with papilla cells in people, using the cells to try to restore or rejuvenate existing papillae and follicles.
Those who have been waiting anxiously for a "cure" have been consistently disappointed -- so we at Arocha Hair Restoration encourage patience. It can take a decade or longer for scientific discoveries to complete clinical trials and secure the necessary regulatory approvals, so the best option until then remains the kind of artistic hair transplant procedures we specialize in, augmented with FDA-approved medications.
More information is available at the following:
Durham University: Human cells used to grow new hair Science Daily: Hair Regeneration Method Is First to Induce New Human Hair Growth Forbes: Researchers Re-Grow Hair In Mice, Offering Hope For Hair Loss