Hair loss: the solution could come from stem cells

Hair loss is a health problem, which can depend on several factors: a study on the cultivation of hair follicles from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) might be the solution

At the last annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, a team of researchers from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (USA) presented a study on the cultivation of hair follicles from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), obtaining a “Merit Award”.

Hair loss is a health problem, which can depend on several factors – such as genetics, aging, a disease, an aggressive therapy or even childbirth. This condition affects both men and women, and often children, resulting in emotional distress that significantly affects the quality of life, often leading to anxiety and depression.

Professor Alexey Terskikh and his team have been working since 2015 on the replacement of the dermal papilla, a type of cell that resides in the hair bulb and is responsible for the nourishment and development of the hair. Thanks to induced pluripotent stem cells – adult cells reprogrammed to return to an embryonic state – the researchers succeeded in achieving the of regrowth of hair from the skin itself, just like the natural ones.

The result seems to be truly extraordinary and promising: the hair looks very natural, both in growth and in the color and thickness of the hair. It can also continue to grow and increase in volume.

To help the hair grow in the right direction, a sort of 3D scaffolding has been created, so that it is possible to control the direction of hair growth and promote the integration of the stem cells (iPSC) into the patient’s skin.

«This is a critical breakthrough in the development of cell-based hair loss therapy and the regenerative medicine field», says Prof. Terskikh. Moreover, «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».

The umbilical cord is an invaluable source of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells. Their collection is a unique opportunity, possible at the time of childbirth. Find out more about the conservation procedure with Nescens Swiss Stem Cell Science.