With an estimated 65% of men and 85% of women suffering from some noticeable hair loss by age 60, researchers have long sought a way to help them. Now British and American scientists say they may have found a solution that would actually replace lost hair – rather than just relocating it with transplants or slowing its loss with medication.
Scientists from the University of Durham in the U.K. and Columbia University Medical Center in the U.S. reported that they have found a way to grow new human hair. They took cells from the base of human hair follicles, clumped them together in “3D spheroids” -- a strategy, they said, that stimulated new hair growth.
They then transplanted the 3D spheroids into human skin grafted on the backs of mice. Six weeks later, the researchers noted new follicle formation in five out of the seven cases. There were even some tiny hairs that began to form. This differed from previous attempts, when the cells would simply transform into skin, rather than hair.
“This signature change translates to a partial restoration of inductive capability, and we show that human dermal papilla cells, when grown as spheroids, are capable of inducing de novo hair follicles in human skin,” researchers wrote in the study, published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.