April 18 - Japanese scientists say they have discovered a way to regenerate hair growth in bald people using follicles created through stem cell technology. Writing in the journal Nature, the team reports that bio-engineered hair follicles were successfully transplanted into the skin of adult mice where they produced multiple generations of hair. Rob Muir reports.
Born bald, these mice are growing real strands of hair, produced and regenerated through stem cell technology and transplantation. By implanting hair follicles created from stem cells, researchers in Tokyo say the hair continually regenerates in a normal cycle of growth and loss. Team leader, Tokyo University of Science professor Takahi Tsuji, says the bioengineered hair follicles connect very naturally with surrounding tissue. And if it works in mice, he says it can work in people. (SOUNDBITE) TOKYO UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE PROFESSOR TAKASHI TSUJI SAYING: "From this thick area of hair we pull, we take a small amount of hair and then through bioengineering multiply or increase the hair follicles from this source. Once we've created enough we will be able to surgically transplant the regenerated hairs." Tokyo Medical Clinic Hospital director Akio Sato says the discovery will lead to vastly improved hair transplantation procedures for the bald. (SOUNDBITE) TOKYO MEDICAL CLINIC HOSPITAL DIRECTOR AKIO SATO SAYING: "Depending on the medicine, the hair loss treatment differs, but for some that treatment is not effective enough." The new study is the first to demonstrate the creation of viable hair follicles within the skin, but the team says it also shows the potential for bioengineering other body parts using adult stem cells. The research they say, has immeasurable potential for growth. Rob Muir, Reuters.