Scientists Have Made A ‘Critical Breakthrough’ In The Cure For Baldness

Joshua RogersJoshua Rogers in News, World
Published 28.06.19
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Scientists Have Made A ‘Critical Breakthrough’ In The Cure For Baldness

I feel sorry for blokes who go bald.

It happened to a lad I was friends with (who shall remain nameless [Dave]) when he was just 22, and to be fair to him, he completely embraced it.

My dad, on the other hand, didn’t take it as a gracefully, even though he had a good ten years on Dave when his baldness started setting in.

He’s had a Zinedine Zidane-esque patch on his crown ever since I can remember and he absolutely hates being reminded about it.

I once bought him a toupée for Christmas as a joke and I swear the whole day nearly got cancelled.

But it seems his insecurities might be a thing of the past, thanks to what scientists are calling a “critical breakthrough” in the search for a cure for baldness.

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Researchers from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have essentially found out they could create natural-looking hair using stem cells, refining a method which allowed them to grow hair through the skin of mice using dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells.

The study involved the human stem cells being combined with mice cells before they were attached to a 3D biodegradable scaffold made from the same material as dissolvable stitches.

The scaffold helped control the direction of hair growth and helped the stem cells integrate into the skin.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) and received a Merit Award and now, the scientists are looking to apply the same process in humans, saying there is an “unlimited” supply of stem cells which can be taken from a simple blood draw.

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Our new protocol described today overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use,” said Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., an associate professor in Sanford Burnham Prebys’ Development, Aging and Regeneration Programme and the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Stemson Therapeutics.

“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.”

Apparently, male pattern baldness affects around 50% of men over the age of 50 (so my dad then), and is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors, according to the British Association of Dermatologists.

Current treatments include finasteride and minoxidil, which do not work for everyone and only work for as long as they are used.

“It could improve the lives of millions,” Dr Richard Chaffoo, a medical adviser to Stemson Therapeutics, said.

“Hair loss profoundly affects many people’s lives. A significant part of my practice involves both men and women who are seeking solutions to their hair loss.”

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I’m all for this treatment and the fact that I’m not bald (yet) makes it difficult to comment on, but I think there’s something to be said for growing old gracefully, which may or may not include going bald.

Having said that, I am ridiculously sensitive about my own hair – like father like son – in the sense that I won’t leave the house if my barnet isn’t going the way I want it to, which is problematic when 95% of the time it looks crap.

Also, why is it that when you want your hair to look good, it looks sh*t, and when you’re popping out for a pint of milk it looks fabulous?

Sod’s Law.

You’re better off bald – less hassle.

Images via Getty

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