Japanese researchers have sparked new hope in the hair department as they announced Wednesday that they had successfully used stem cells to re-grow hair.
The study was published in the online science magazine Nature Communications and conducted on hairless mice. Researchers discovered that they were able to use stem cells to recreate hair follicles, which could then be implanted on the test subjects in order to grow new hair. The study was considered a success when the mice continue to re-grow hair even after old hair follicles had fallen out. Professor Takashi Tsuji from Tokyo University of Science led the study.
"Our current study thus demonstrates the potential for not only hair regeneration therapy but also the realisation of bioengineered organ replacement using adult somatic stem cells," the study reported.
It was previously believed that it was required to extract stem cells from embryos in order for them to be grown into tissues or organs; the study reveals that is not necessarily the case.
In the future, the study could allow those who suffer from hair loss to use their own stem cells to create new hair growth.
"We would like to start clinical research within three to five years, so that an actual treatment to general patients can start within a decade," researcher Koh-ei Toyoshima said.
According to the Medem Medical Library, baldness affects of 40 million men in the United States. Over 25 percent of those men saw signs of balding before the age of 30. Baldness is considered to be a genetic trait with the likelihood of inheriting the trait being 4 in 7. Baldness and hair thinning can also affect women, but usually does so to a lesser extent.
Some men seemed anxious for the procedure to start immediately.
"WHY SO LONG ON TRIALS lets get them ASAP! stem cells have NO! side effects!! i want my hair back im single! come on 3 to 5 years thats ridiculous!" Joseph wrote in response to the study on the Yahoo blog.