Scientific breakthrough could help develop new treatments for hair loss | Science and technology news

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Researchers say new hair loss treatments could be developed thanks to a scientific breakthrough in Japan.

The team, which includes several universities across the country, has been studying the process of hair follicle growth and hopes their work could help create regenerative medicines.

A study published in the journal Science Advances shows they have successfully created follicles, which are essentially the anchors that hold hair to your scalp and elsewhere.

The follicles were created “in culture,” the scientific jargon for under controlled conditions rather than in a natural environment, but now the researchers hope to replicate the breakthrough using human cells.

It could open new research avenues for the development of new treatment strategies for hair loss diseases, including alopecia. affecting both women and men.

The team hopes their work will also help to understand how and why some people experience hair loss.

“Our next step is to use cells of human origin and apply them to drug development and regenerative medicine,” said Junji Fukuda, professor in the Faculty of Engineering at Yokohama National University (YNU).

Picture:
A hair follicle created under laboratory conditions. Image: Yokohama National University

How did scientists make the discovery?

The key to the breakthrough are so-called organoid cultures — tiny, simple versions of an organ that scientists can make for laboratory studies.

These organoids are designed to replicate the architecture and physiology of human organs, while researchers would traditionally rely on animal models.

Tatsuto Kageyama, an assistant professor in YNU’s Faculty of Engineering, said they were a “promising tool” that helped the team achieve such promising results.

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The hair follicle organoids were created using a low density of “extracellular matrices” – this is the scaffolding in our body that provides structure for cells and tissues.

All of this helped the team get as close as possible to the process and environment required for hair growth while still being in a controlled laboratory environment.

The end result was that hair follicles and hair shafts grew at almost 100% efficiency, reaching a length of approximately three millimeters after 23 days.

They then also added a drug that stimulates melanocytes — a key cell in making hair color. Again, these results were very promising and improved the appearance of fibers produced in the lab.



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