Researchers have used human pluripotent stem cells to generate new hair. The study, which appears online in PLOS One, marks the first step toward developing a cell-based treatment for people with hair loss.
“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,” says Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., associate professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., in a news release. “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 research team developed a protocol that coaxed human pluripotent stem cells to become dermal papilla cells which regulate hair-follicle formation and growth cycle. “Our next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects,” said Terskikh. “We are currently seeking partnerships to implement this final step.”