An effective method for producing hair growth among nude mice was developed by Japanese scientists. It is a method which can become very important and there is a big potential to be used in clinical trials for human hair regenerative therapy.

All the results were published in Biomaterials on May 9, 2019.

Different factors are the reason why people lose their hair: it might be hereditary; it can happen because of aging or any kind of hormonal imbalances or a result of some cancer treatments. These days people use hair transplantation or drugs to treat the problem, but they are not that effective and have many side effects.

In the past there were studies which have shown improved results by the use of transplantation, on mice’s backs, with a three-dimensional tissue culture which is called hair follicle germ. This follicle is comprised of hair follicle stem cells which come from both mesenchymal tissue (connective tissue which comes from the mesoderm) and epithelial (the outer layer of the skin).

The down side is that for this approach to work you would need to merge the cells manually and it is hard to actually produce the 5,000 + follicles, which are needed for every patient.

In order to make this method possible and also clinically viable, Dr. Tatsuto lead a team of scientists and they proposed a completely new approach for regenerating hair by using human hair follicle stem cells and mouse.

The team invented hair beads (HBs) that were wells with a U shape and put them in an array with a hair follicle stem cells that were encapsulated in collagen. 24 hours later, the epithelial cells formed a clump and stuck to the collagen gel, which eventually formed the “bead-based hair follicle germ”.

In order to test its efficiency, the scientists transplanted the bbHFGs and HBs to mice’s backs.

By using this method, after 4 weeks there was a high rate production of hair generation. It was discovered that cell aggregation and collagen enrichment are extremely important for hair growth.

They also researched if they can automate this method so they can mass produce hair follicle germs, which would help this method to be clinically feasible as well.

Their goal was to develop an effective method for hair regeneration which can be clinically viable, so their next step is finding a new way to expand the number of hair follicle stem cells. This study focused on how they can prepare the tissue grafts. But in order to deliver this approach to patients who have lost their hair they have to find a proper approach so they can obtain enough hair follicle stem cells before they actually prepare the tissue grafts. They need additional studies, but there is hope.