New hair regeneration tech raises hope for baldness cure

Tokyo, Feb 2 : Japanese researchers have developed a novel method for the "mass production" of hair regenerating tissues, that may lead to new treatment for hair loss.

Although hair loss is not life-threatening, it troubles a substantial number of individuals all over the world, particularly in ageing societies.

Hair regenerative medicine which involves regenerating hair follicles -- the tiny organs that grow and sustain hair -- has emerged as a new therapy to combat the problem.

However, it is challenging to prepare hair follicle germs (HFGs) -- the reproductive source of hair follicles -- on a large scale, the researchers said.

The new method, published in the journal Biomaterials, helps in the mass preparation of cellular aggregates, also known as HFGs.

As a result, the team successfully prepared up to 5,000 HFGs simultaneously, and also reported new hair growth from the HFGs after transplantation into mice.

"The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for culture vessel," said Junji Fukuda, Professor at Yokohama National University in Japan.

"We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) at the bottom of culture vessel, and it worked very well," Fukuda added.

Further, the team evaluated whether the method can transfer the prepared HFGs from a fabricated approximately 300-microwell array, called "HFG chip", to generate hair follicles and hairs on the mouse body.

The results confirmed black hair generation at both the back and scalp transplantation sites.

The regenerated hair also exhibited the typical hair cycle of "murine" hair, the researchers said.

"This simple method is very robust and promising.

We hope that this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia," Fukuda said.

"In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells," Fukuda noted.



Source: IANS