To baldly grow: Japan scientists regrow hair at record rate

February 6, 2018
Culture vessel for the mass preparation of hair follicle germs (above). Generated hairs on the back of a mouse (below). Credit: Yokohama National University

Polished pates and thinning thatches may one day be a thing of the past, thanks to Japanese scientists who have developed a way to grow hair follicles at a record rate.

The study used two kinds of cells placed in silicone containers to cultivate " germs"—the sources of the tiny organs that grow and sustain .

Led by professor Junji Fukuda at the Yokohama National University, the team managed to cultivate 5,000 within just a few days, enough to replenish hair.

The method is a massive step up from existing laborious techniques that can create just 50 or so "germs" at once.

While human tests might not be on the cards for another five years, ultimately researchers believe the technique could be used to generate luscious new locks.

The technology could also help cancer patients and others with medical conditions that cause , said Fukuda, whose research was published in the journal Biomaterials.

"Beauty clinics currently often use hair from the occipital region [back of the head] and plant them to frontal areas with hair loss. A problem with this is that it doesn't increase the total volume of hair," Fukuda said.

Existing medication can slow hair loss, but it does not necessarily reverse the problem, he added.

New treatment using the technique may be available in 10 years, the professor said.

While the study offers hope for the hairless, Fukuda debunked some rather optimistic reports suggesting McDonald's fries could help cure baldness.

The silicone used in his study, dimethylpolysiloxane, is reportedly used by the fast food giant in its oil fryers, but consuming the substance alone offers no fringe benefits.

Fukuda said he was baffled by the readers' misinterpretation of his research.

"I have seen online comments asking, 'how many fries would I have to eat to grow my hair?'" he told AFP.

"I'd feel bad if people think eating something would do that!"

Explore further: The age-old search for a cure for hair loss may be close to an end

More information: Tatsuto Kageyama et al, Spontaneous hair follicle germ (HFG) formation in vitro, enabling the large-scale production of HFGs for regenerative medicine, Biomaterials (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.10.056

Related Stories

The age-old search for a cure for hair loss may be close to an end

January 29, 2018
Understanding the energy it takes to grow a strand of hair could hold the key to ensuring women end their lives with a wonderful bouffant.

Hairy skin grown from mouse stem cells

January 2, 2018
Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have cultured the first lab-grown skin tissue complete with hair follicles. This skin model, developed using stem cells from mice, more closely resembles natural hair than ...

Study explores the seasonality of hair loss

October 24, 2017
A new British Journal of Dermatology study explores the relationship between seasonality and hair loss at a population level using Google Trends data. Across all eight countries analyzed in the study, summer and fall were ...

Using stem cells to grow new hair

January 27, 2015
In a new study from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), researchers have used human pluripotent stem cells to generate new hair. The study represents the first step toward the development of a cell-based ...

Scientists find skin cells at the root of balding, gray hair

May 8, 2017
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified the cells that directly give rise to hair as well as the mechanism that causes hair to turn gray – findings that could one day help identify possible treatments ...

Recommended for you

New inflammation inhibitor discovered

November 16, 2018
A multidisciplinary team of researchers led from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed an anti-inflammatory drug molecule with a new mechanism of action. By inhibiting a certain protein, the researchers were able ...

Gut hormone and brown fat interact to tell the brain it's time to stop eating

November 15, 2018
Researchers from Germany and Finland have shown that so-called "brown fat" interacts with the gut hormone secretin in mice to relay nutritional signals about fullness to the brain during a meal. The study, appearing November ...

Brain, muscle cells found lurking in kidney organoids grown in lab

November 15, 2018
Scientists hoping to develop better treatments for kidney disease have turned their attention to growing clusters of kidney cells in the lab. One day, so-called organoids—grown from human stem cells—may help repair damaged ...

How the Tasmanian devil inspired researchers to create 'safe cell' therapies

November 15, 2018
A contagious facial cancer that has ravaged Tasmanian devils in southern Australia isn't the first place one would look to find the key to advancing cell therapies in humans.

Researchers discover important connection between cells in the liver

November 15, 2018
University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have made a discovery which could lead to a new way of thinking about how disease pathogenesis in the liver is regulated, which is important for understanding the condition ...

Precision neuroengineering enables reproduction of complex brain-like functions in vitro

November 14, 2018
One of the most important and surprising traits of the brain is its ability to dynamically reconfigure the connections to process and respond properly to stimuli. Researchers from Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan) and the ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

IronhorseA
not rated yet Feb 06, 2018
Hardly a cure, it's just another type of hair transplant. In the balding area, all of the hair that once existed is still there, just reduce to non-growing 'peach fuzz'. When they come up with a way to turn the growth cycle back on, then they will have a cure.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.