On Thursday, scientists presented findings indicating they may finally have a cure for baldness.

The scientists made their presentation at the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) conference in Los Angeles, where they received a Merit Award for their work. Dr. Alexey Terskikh, an associate professor at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, runs the laboratory where the research was done.

As Morning Call reported:

Terskikh and colleagues made the “induced pluripotent stem cells,” which act like embryonic stem cells, from normal adult cells. These cells were first invented more than a decade ago, and have been adopted for many stem cell treatments. The human IPS cells were grown into a cell type called dermal papillae cells that help produce hair. These were transplanted along with mouse skin cells into hairless immune-deficient “nude” mice. With the human cells’ help, the transplanted mouse cells produced mouse hair.

EurekaAlert quoted Terskikh saying:

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 … 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.

The Daily Mail noted, “On Thursday, the more advanced process was presented at the conference and involves placing 3D biodegradable scaffolds – made from the same material as dissolvable stitches – with mouse epithelial cells combined with human dermal papilla cells and placed under the skin of nude mice, which lack body hair. When the biodegradable scaffold disappears, all that’s left is healthy hair growing as normal.”

San Diego startup Stemson Therapeutics, founded by CEO Geoff Hamilton and Terskikh, has licensed the technology. Hamilton stated, “Today there’s about 130,000 to 140,000 hair transplant surgeries performed in the U. S. each year, as reported by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.” He added, “Once we have optimized our solution to look appropriately in various types of animal skin that is closely similar to human skin, then we will be ready to start human clinical trials.”

According to the American Hair Loss Association, “Androgenetic alopecia or common male pattern baldness (MPB) accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By the age of thirty-five two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of appreciable hair loss and by the age of fifty approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair. Approximately twenty five percent of men who suffer with male pattern baldness begin the painful process before they reach the age of twenty-one.”AHLA adds, “… women actually make up forty percent of American hair loss

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