Mouse baldness is a well-known problem. And certainly it is when scientists overlook the thousands of human hair loss volunteers they could potentially have at the drop of a hat to speed hair loss research up!
A team of Japanese biomedical researchers from Tokyo University of Science, – led by Ryoji Takagi – are the latest to attempt to conquer mouse baldness by taking a DNA sample from a bald mouse and building it onto a small chunk of skin to regenerate skin before implanting the skin in the bald mouse. Over the course of the next 70 days, both skin and hair prospered.
In Scientific journal Science Advances, the scientists detail their new method to grow 3D layers of skin and hair cells from stem cells, which are genetically engineered from adult tissue. The scientists are then able to genetically engineer those adult cells to revert into stem cells that share the donor’s DNA – thus preventing rejection problems.
This could potentially have multiple applications from helping burns victims to those losing their hair by enabling lost patches of the appropriate skin or scalp to regenerate. Furthermore the whole process might require no more than a drop of your blood to instigate. This is the first lab grown skin to include all three layers of skin cells in addition to being able to incorporate sweat glands or hair follicles as needed.
But before any human being gets too excited, Miho Ogawa, a researcher with the team at the private research foundation RIKEN, in Tokyo, estimates the first human trials won’t come for another 10 years. As with all medical treatments for hair loss, we are willing to bet this will be a rolling ten years!