Researchers at the Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC) have devised a hair restoration method that can generate new human hair growth, rather than simply redistributing hair from one part of the scalp to another.
According to the study, published Monday in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the researchers harvested dermal papillae from seven human donors and cloned the cells in tissue culture -- no additional growth factors were added to the cultures.
After a few days, the cultured papillae were transplanted between the dermis and epidermis of human skin that had been grafted onto the backs of mice.
In five of the seven tests, the transplants resulted in new hair growth that lasted at least six weeks.
DNA analysis confirmed that the new hair follicles were human and genetically matched the donors.
"This approach has the potential to transform the medical treatment of hair loss," said first author of the study Claire A. Higgins.