Recent study has proved the theory of human stem cells resulting in hair growth for the very first time.
Human pluripotent embryonic stem cells are stem cells that are capable of developing into any other cell, were developed into neural crest cells.
These are cells that can develop into a variety of cells on the head, including brain cells, cartilage, bone and muscle cells.
The cells were enticed to grow into dermal papillae cells, the cells that nourish the skin and regulate follicle growth and formation. These cells began to flourish when transplanted into hairless mice.
"We have developed a method using human pluripotent stem cells to create new cells capable of initiating human hair growth. The method is a marked improvement over current methods that rely on transplanting existing hair follicles from one part of the head to another," said Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., Associate professor, Development, Aging and Regeneration Program at Sanford-Burnham.
He added, "Our stem cell method provides an unlimited source of cells from the patient for transplantation and isn't limited by the availability of existing hair follicles".
The same was tried with dermal papillae cells taken from the scalps of adult humans. In living culture, these cells are not suitable for hair transplants, since they lost their ability to induce follicle formation.
"In adults, dermal papilla cells cannot be readily amplified outside of the body and they quickly lose their hair-inducing properties. 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 Terskikh.
The next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects.