Does The New Growth In Hair Loss Research Help Fight Baldness? – Part 2

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Does The New Growth In Hair Loss Research Help Fight Baldness? – Part 2

What Is The Breakthrough In Baldness Treatment?

In today’s social media age, having a luscious and full head of hair is putting pressure whether it is for dating app snaps, Instagram selfies, or the more recent corporate headshot on LinkedIn. As it helps maintain a youthful appearance, it is one of the most impelling features of modern life.

The digital world is magnifying the anxieties of people with male and female pattern baldness and there is simply little wonder that is increasingly linked to several mental health conditions.  
Generating New Hair From Scratch

Growing whole hair follicles completely from scratch in the lab is one way that could be used with the patient stem cells instead of relying on the donor's hair. Finally, when the follicles are grown in unlimited quantities, they can be grafted to the scalp. With the research being bankrolled by the government or private companies, these initiatives are taking place in Japan and South Korea.

Ohsang Kwon, a dermatologist at Seoul national university hospital explains, due to the cultural differences, there’s more investment in hair research in Korea and Japan. When they lose their hair, in the western world a lot of men shave their heads. Whereas it is awkward in the culture of Korea and Japan as it looks like a sign of criminal or gangster.

There are several Japanese research groups that in the past year have published reports hinting tantalizingly at breakthrough. the expertise of the scientists at Yokohama National University led by Junji Fukuda has developed an experimental method that helps generate new hair follicles from the stem cells in far higher quantities, than ever before, whereas later scientists at the Riken Centre For Developmental Biology is sure to launch one of the first-ever clinical trials where hair follicles are grown entirely from stem cells. 

As Fukuda continues, the stem cell approaches are hoped to be a better option for severe hair loss patients without sufficient hairs for the transplantation. Whereas traditionally hair transplantation as it doesn’t increase hair numbers in the scalp, but the medicine that is hair-regenerative in principle as a result of growing stem cells outside of the body. 

3D printing in the future can help to do this on a large scale as at the Columbia University in New York, working to create hair farms is Angela Christiano using a grid of 3d printed plastic molds that mimic the exact shape of hair follicles. When using stem cells to grow new hairs in a dish, one of the major challenges faced is that without natural cues provided by the scalp, these cells don’t realize what they’re meant to do. Helping stimulate them to make hair, growing them in artificial hair like environment is where scientists still solve some aesthetic challenges.

She continues that there are key questions to be tackled such as the color of the hair, how is it pigmented? Whether the patient's hair is straight or curly and what texture is it when grown in a grid,? Before injecting them into the patient’s scalp, we need to solve these questions. 

As it offers the potential thereby eliminating baldness for good, Paus cautions about whether the methods are safe or end up being cosmetically pleasing. The cost probably means that they‘re the only ones accessible to the very rich.

He further explains that as there are many problems in reality, which implies that it is not seen working quite yet. While you are creating a new mini-organ from scratch, there is a need for extra care so that the organ doesn’t grow out of control becoming a tumor. That must be grown in a way that looks natural. 

Reviving Existing Follicles

Paus recommends that rather than trying to grow completely new follicles, the focus should be on efforts that try to revive the ones which are already there. As he points out there are bald individuals with 100,000 hair follicles all over the scalp. But it is simply not visible. 

He says that they’re the miniaturized ones that instead of making a normal long hair shaft, only make a tiny microscopically visible one. Whereas the organ is still there, to solve the balding problem, all that is needed is a single new hair follicle where the need to get the ones already there helps do the job properly again. There would not be a need for a single hair transplant if they could transform these miniaturized follicles into big ones.

Exploring one particular innovative way to do this is what Paus has been doing for the past four years. With a small handful of drugs, it is as immune suppressant cyclosporine causing unwanted hair growth as a side effect. Puas’s research group has been studying to identify a completely new pathway that stimulates hair follicles. 

Further on he adds that while it has allowed them to discover basic hair growth control principles, it could also be used to find a completely new class of hair drugs. 

Appearing to be highly effective at stimulating this pathway as well as inducing hair growth when tested on human hair follicles cells in the lab, they have discovered a series of compounds well suited for this. They are going to trial it as a new topical treatment in volunteers if found to be safe enough.  

The Final Thoughts

Remaining a distant vision is the holy grail fo hair loss while preventing it completely with enough promising treatments in the pipeline allowing the baldest individuals dreaming of new hair. 

The breakthrough encouraging new investment in the field is simply the hope for scientists in the western world. As Paus says, one of the most important social communication instruments is the new treatments flooding a huge market with a multimillion-dollar market that keeps growing. With a vast economic potential, there are serious breakthroughs in hair research needing more funding from the government as well as an industry making them happen. The realization in this direction hasn't happened yet. 

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