While rodents have the ability to regenerate lost hair, scientists have so far been unable to trigger re-growth in humans. Instead, they traditionally treat hair loss by removing hair follicles from the back of a patient’s head and transplanting them to another area of the scalp.
Now, in a study published Monday in the journal PNAS, researchers used lab methods to simulate the behavior of rodent cells in order to induce hair growth in human flesh.
“Although further work will be required to increase the efficiency of this process, this crucial first step represents a milestone advance for bioengineering of human hair,” the authors concluded.
Researchers hypothesized that since rodent cells clump together in spherical shapes prior to new hair growth, human cells might be more likely to sprout hair if they were similarly clustered.
The researchers surmised that by growing the cells on a flat surface, they were robbing the cells of their ability to pick up on and communicate cellular “cues” necessary for regeneration.
Source: LA Times