Scientists at the University of Calgary have discovered a skin stem cell within hair follicles which they are hypothesising could be used in the future to stimulate the growth of new hair. The findings, newly published in the Developmental Cell scientific journal, could be a significant step towards the development of new hair loss treatments.
Stem cell identification
Jeff Biernaskie, PhD, Assistant Professor of Stem Cell Biology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and his team, carried out research to identify which stem cells are responsible for the constant hair growth cycle that our follicles go through. The team’s research indicated that some dermal sheath cells demonstrated the ability to self-renew, giving scientists an enhanced understanding of the regeneration process of hair follicles. This research could pave the way for hair loss therapies which target stem cells to promote hair growth.
Biernaskie commented, “When you lose your hair, particularly in male pattern baldness, we know the reason you go bald is because of dysfunction of these cells in this group, this dermal papilla. So if you look at follicles from bald skin, there’s either a huge loss in the number of cells that are there or they’ve atrophied and shrunken so they’re not functioning in the same way.”
“We hope that we can ultimately stimulate these cells with drugs to replenish or rejuvenate the cells that are responsible for inducing hair growth.”
New hair loss treatments
The work, which received funding from the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society, the Stem Cell Network and the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) could be used to develop treatments for hair loss related to disease, burns, ageing or injury, although it could be a decade before treatments of this type are available to the public.
The research findings could mean new treatments are also available in the future for animals, who can suffer from similar diseases and skin injuries to humans.
Existing hair loss treatments
This new research could be used to develop treatments which target hair loss at the source, stimulating stem cells to encourage follicles to regrow hair, which can only be good news for anyone affected by hair loss conditions. Given that such a development is likely to be many years away, the good news is that clinically proven treatments for genetic hair loss already exist.
Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, so it is important to get to the root of the problem in order to treat it. If you believe you are experiencing more shedding than normal and have concerns about hair loss it is a good idea to visit a specialist as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment programme.
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 Consultation 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 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.