Researchers from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have used human stem cells to generate new hair. The research team developed a protocol that encourages human pluripotent stem cells to become dermal papilla cells. Dermal papilla cells are a group of cells that regulate hair-follicle formation and growth cycle.
Human dermal papilla Cells are not suitable for transplant as they are limited in number and quickly lose their hair-follicle forming ability when removed from the patient. “We developed a protocol to drive human pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into dermal papilla cells and confirmed their ability to induce hair growth when transplanted into mice.” said Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., associate professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program.
Dermatologist Dr Martin Wade from The London Skin and Hair Clinic said “This stem cell protocol offers an exciting alternative to existing hair transplantation technology. In hair transplant technology existing hair follicles are moved from one part of the scalp to another, however the process is limited by the finite number of hair follicles on the scalp. With the stem cell protocol, there would be an unlimited supply of cells from the patient for transplantation.”
The research team have advised that their next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects