Stem Cell Science and Hair Regrowth
For many years scientists have been focused on the capabilities and promise of stem cells when it comes to treating male pattern baldness and other types of permanent hair loss. Through extensive research it has become clear that adult stem cell usage can someday end the frustration and embarrassment of baldness and provide a proven cure.
Current Theory for Stem Cell Use and Hair RegrowthStem cell science has established a workable theory for how adult stem cells can be used to generate new hair growth in individuals suffering from Androgenetic Alopecia and other forms of Hair Loss.
Adult stem cells are different from other cells found in the body in that they have the ability to self-renew. In this process of self-renewal the stem cell is capable of making an exact replica of itself. And the newly formed cells are capable of dividing and eventually transforming into specialised cells. When these stem cells are manipulated into becoming hair follicles cells they can produce hair growth and replace the follicles that are no longer capable of this function.
This process is believed to be accomplished through chemical signals sent out by the human brain. When stem cells are located near damaged or dying cells – such as those in unproductive hair follicles – the stem cells are signalled to migrate to the base of the hair follicle and begin dividing. As the cells divide they differentiate into the different cell types that are needed to produce a healthy hair follicle. Some stem cells become part of the follicle and some become part of the skin that surrounds the follicle. Once cell division and specialisation is finished a healthy hair follicle is born.
Current Stem Cell ResearchAlthough scientists have established this basic theory, they still need more information and research to understand the exact onset of this process and the details of how cell specialisation is accomplished. Currently, scientists have yet to pinpoint what turns the stem cells on for migration and specialisation. They also do not yet understand how the stem cells know exactly where to go to begin new growth, and how they know which cell types to transform into to make up the six necessary layers of a functioning hair follicle.
Presently, scientists have been able to transplant healthy stem cells into the skin of mice that have produced new hair follicles and promising hair growth. This research proves that scientists have isolated the stem cells involved in the process of hair growth. However, more work needs to be done on the process of chemical signalling and cell manipulation before the procedure could be attempted in humans.
Looking Towards the Future of Hair RegrowthSome day scientists hope to use this discovery on the human scalp by isolating stem cells in a healthy area of the scalp and transplanting them to an area that no longer produces hair growth. After the transplant the stem cells should generate new hair follicles and Normal Hair Growth. However, as exciting as this research is, the use of it as an effective treatment option for hair loss is 10 years away or more. Until then, individuals who are suffering from Permanent Hair Loss conditions will be limited in their treatment options.
With the advances in stem cell science and medical innovations brought on by further research, the thought of suffering from permanent baldness will soon never again be of concern.