Japanese researchers have grown hair follicles in a lab for the first time, which may signal the beginning of a ground-breaking cure for hair loss.
In a news statement, scientists from Japan’s Yokohama National University said that they had successfully pioneered in vitro hair follicles growth after years of study into the factors that contribute to hair growth.
Using a unique sort of gel they developed, the researchers were able to alter the architecture of mouse skin cells, reprogramming the cells to promote hair development, according to a study on the work that was published in the journal Science Advances.
In an effort to comprehend the interactions between skin cells and connective tissues that lead to hair growth, the Japanese researchers created “organoids,” which are “small, simplified copies of organs.” Then reprogrammed them with their gel to replicate the environment of the hair follicles.
Medical science specialist Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke is affiliated with the Queen Mary University of London but was not involved in the study. He said, “If you picture a hair follicle, the hair is in the center, and there are layers of epithelial cells and other specialized cells surrounding the follicle.”
In turn, that same gel mimics the body’s natural environment by allowing the epithelial cells to crawl over and around one another, according to Hodivala-Dilke.
According to Junji Fukada, the hair cycle of mice is roughly one month, which is “possibly related to the fact that the hair follicles got as long as three millimeters during the month they grew.” He continued by saying that his group is currently attempting to repeat the experiment using human skin cells.
Hodivala-Dilke claims that this finding is in the early stages and “is not going to treat hair loss on its own.” “It lays the groundwork for anyone to potentially do so,” she continued.
According to a British researcher, “It may be possible to remove hair from someone with exceptionally rich hair, induce growth in the lab, and then do a transplant using those follicles.”