Scientists Reckon That They Might Have Discovered A Cure For Baldness
Yes, in a piece of potentially groundbreaking news for slapheads the world over, boffins have used stem cell research to grow an 'unlimited' amount of natural looking human hair.
Allow me to explain.
Scientists from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have essentially created hair follicles that grow through skin by using human pluripotent stem cells - whatever they are - that could cure baldness once and for all.
OK, so they've only managed it on mice just now, but who is to say what the future might bring?
They recently revealed their findings at the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) annual conference in Los Angeles, California.
In fact, everyone was so impressed that they awarded them a Merit Award at the event and the technology has been picked up by Stemson Research, according to Eureka Alert.
Now, here's the actual science.
Basically, they took human skin cells and stuck them onto mice to watch what happened. Using special 'scaffolds' to direct the growth of the hair, they observed that the hair grew through those scaffolds once they were placed underneath the skin of the mice.
What resulted, you'd imagine, was some pretty hirsute mice. Let's hope they at least got a decent haircut out of it, poor things.
After the success of the mice-trial, they now reckon they can apply the same technique to actual honest-to-god humans. They also want to use cells from the subject's own body, which would give them a better chance of being accepted by the immune system.
One of the professors involved, Dr Alexey Terskikh, said: "Our new protocol described today overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use,
"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,"
This has actually been brewing for a while. Back in 2015 the same doctor managed to grow hair underneath mouse skin, but they were unable to control it. Now those must have been some hairy mice.
With their new technique, they can actually control how much is grown and in which direction.
Dr Richard Chaffoo who, as well as having an amazing name, is a medical adviser to Stemson Technologies, said: "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,"
Featured Image Credit: PA