Research


Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cells are found in most, if not all, multi-cellular organisms.  They are characterised by the ability to renew themselves through cell division and differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types.  One of the largest reservoirs of adult stem cells is the hair follicles since it regenerates multiple times during adult life, that are mostly found in the bulge area and partially in the bulb of hair follicle. 
The hair follicle stem cells are regulated not only by the micro-environment within one hair follicle, but also by adjacent hair follicles, other skin compartments and systemic hormones as well as other body chemicals. The isolation, cultivation, and propagation of these stem cells are important for tissue-engineering approaches to treating disorders of the hair and skin.

It is thought that follicles were always formed before birth, with their gradual death leading to baldness. The discovery that it is possible to develop new follicles by ‘hair follicle cloning’ later in life has paved new ways to treat hair loss.
Studies revealed that human hair follicle stem cells, mixed with some mature skin cells, were able to spontaneously generate new follicles when transplanted into mouse skin. The concept of hair follicle cloning gives rise to the possibility of replicating or cultivating the cells found in the hair follicle in the laboratory and re-introducing them the bald areas of the scalp.
When dealing with hair cloning, one has to be able to understand the nature of stem cells being used in this procedure. Although this research is in its infancy, the implications of it in the field of hair restoration are truly promising.  The unlimited replication of cells will ensure limitless number of hair follicles which can be created. The process of hair follicle cloning requires advancements in the knowledge and understanding stem cells before clinical trials can be considered.

The hair follicle is an abundant source of adult stem cells for the purpose of stem cell therapy. Studies have shown that hair follicle stem cells can be used for skin, blood vessels, and nerve regenerations. Therefore, hair restoration is looking forward towards advances in the field of stem cell research. 

 

Gene Therapy

Final frontier in hair loss treatment is gene therapy.  Genes made up of DNA carries blue prints of life in each and every cell of the body. Humans have 35000-80000 active genes at any given time in any given cell but the specific set that is active depends on the type (spatial) tissues/ organ/cell and the specific time.  

Hair loss is due to multiple factors including multiple genetic factors hence multiple genes are involved in the syndrome (multigenic syndrome). Therefore, the gene therapy will probably involve more than one gene.  The current challenge is to identify the critical gene that are responsible for hair loss and once they are identified, these gene can be used to correct hair loss. Another challenge in gene therapy is to develop new methods to introduce these genes non-invasively and efficaciously.  Furthermore, personalized medicine will practice in hair loss treatment where gene therapy will be tailored to each the patient depending on his/her genetic make-up for maximum benefit. Researchers are currently pursuing such cutting edge genomics research in order to offer these therapeutic solutions in the near future.