Scientists grow hair follicles from Stem Cells [Cure for Baldness]

All these years, men have struggled with their receding hairlines. I’ve seen people try a million treatments which kinda sorta fix it. But I never imagined serious scientists were working on it! Scientists in Germany have successfully grown hair follicles from the stem cells of animals. This apparently can result in a possible cure for baldness.

Let me provide some basic information about Stem cells. According to Wikipedia:

Stem cells are found in all multi cellular organisms. They are characterized by the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types.

The classical definition of a stem cell requires that it possess two properties:

  • Self-renewal – the ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining the undifferentiated state.
  • Potency – the capacity to differentiate into specialized cell types. In the strictest sense, this requires stem cells to be either totipotent or pluripotent – to be able to give rise to any mature cell type, although multipotent or unipotent progenitor cells are sometimes referred to as stem cells.

In simple words, it means that stem cells can multiply into similar state cells multiple times and certain types of stem cells can be manipulated to form any special kinds of cells. So basically they can potentially be converted into any kind of body tissue and multiplied several times. The only problem is that Stem Cell research hasn’t progressed a lot yet. Various organizations around the world have started creating Stem cell databases but the current treatments possibilities are limited, a common one being Bone Marrow transplant for treatment of Leukemia.

Professor Roland Lauster at Berlin’s Technical University’s work to grow hair follicles out of stem cells is one of the few areas where Stem Cell research has succeeded partially. He believes this could, in future, provide treatment for people suffering from hair fall. He was quoted saying, “Since 1950 the number of new chemicals used in cosmetics has risen 500—fold, and so has the need for animals to be experimented upon to ensure they are safe for humans. This could well do away with the need for them to suffer.”

The treatment will probably include transplanting hair follicles in one’s head. The best part is that they will be like regular hair. You can grow them, cut them short and shave them off if you want to. I’m sure this brings a smile on lots of faces. But the sad part is that this could take up to 5 years. At least there is some growth to look forward too.

[via BioScholar]

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