There’s a lot of different men’s health concerns that need working on out there. One of those is baldness. Now, it may not rank up there with cancer, sure, but there are over 80 million men, women, and children in the US alone that suffer hair loss. But scientists from Sanford Burnham Prebys have come up with a solution to baldness that doesn’t require surgery. Rather, their approach makes use of stem cells to create natural-looking hair that actually grows through the skin.
“Our new protocol described today overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use,” explained Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D. Terskikh is an associate professor at Sanford Burnham Preby’s Development, Ageing, and Regeneration Program. He’s also the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer for the newly formed Stemson Therapeutics.
Terskikh continues, stating, “Now we have a robust, highly controlled method for generating natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using an unlimited source of human iPSC-derived dermal papilla cells. This is a critical breakthrough in the development of cell-based hair-loss therapies and the regenerative medicine field.”
The treatment works by placing a biodegradable scaffold made of the same material as dissolvable stitches into the skin along with mouse epithelial cells and human dermal papilla cells. The scaffolding controls the direction the hair grows. Tests in mice have been successful and they are now ready for human trials.
Richard Chaffoo, M.D., F.A.C.S., and a triple board-certified plastic surgeon at La Holla Hair MD, stated, “Hair loss profoundly affects many people’s lives. A significant part of my practice involves both men and women who are seeking solutions to their hair loss. I am eager to advance this groundbreaking technology, which could improve the lives of millions of people who struggle with hair loss.”
The findings were presented at the International Society of Stem Cell Research conference in Los Angeles and received a Merit Award.