Back in November last year, The Belgravia Centre blog carried a story about an exciting new potential hair loss treatment involving the use of stem cells. The treatment has already been successfully demonstrated using bald mice in the laboratory where they have gone on to grow new hair naturally.
The proposed treatment takes a small strip of skin from the back of a patient’s head and extracts epithelial cells from the tissue sample. These cells are then encouraged to grow and ‘clump’ together before being injected back into the patient’s scalp. The clump of implanted cells then grows into a new hair follicle capable of growing hair.
A species-specific problem
Researchers have run into a few problems with the technique however. Mice were originally chosen for test subjects because their papillae cells are tightly clustered in the skin, making it easier for the transplanted epithelial stem cells to ‘communicate’ with each other and the surrounding tissues.
Humans scalps on the other hand have much larger gaps between papillae cells (in microscopic terms) making it much harder, or even impossible, for the implanted stem cells to perform their transformative work. Even if the treatment does work, the regrowth results are likely to be less impressive than those observed in the test mice.
Important hair loss factor missed
The proposed treatment also has another problem – it only deals with epithelial cells. Human hair loss involves two types of skin cells – epithelial cells and dermal papillae cells. So even if stem cells can be used to kick-start regeneration of the epithelial cells, dermal papillae cells will be unaffected, meaning that hair regrowth is far from guaranteed.
A step in the right direction
Although this particular stem cell treatment has suffered a set-back, the findings are still being used to inform research into other potential hair loss treatments. As such, men and women affected by hair loss will need to rely on other proven medical treatments until researchers can identify another viable cure.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our online diagnostic form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our hair loss success stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 0800 077 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.