Got Hair! Ugly creature may pave way for baldness cure
Experiments with the
It's a frankly ugly creature, completely hairless and covered with wrinkles. However - as experiments made by Japanese scientists prove, the "Bristly Mouse" may pave the way for a care to baldness, in addition to halting the spread of gray hair. Tests on human subjects could begin as shortly as three years.
Scientists have worked out how to use stem cells to create pigmented hair follicles that grow successfully when implanted into hairless mice.
Researchers have found a way of growing hair and of making it pigmented on the mice. It's believed that within a decade, the treatment could be in widespread use.
The Japanese researchers have apparently cracked a problem that has baffled scientists for decades.
While countless men are bald or balding, and many claim to be perfectly happy, those who aren't face limited options.
The breakthrough centers on ADULT stem cells, 'blank' cells with the ability to turn into other cell types, and follicles, the tiny pouches that sprout hairs.
The Tokyo University of Science took two types of skin stem cell, which together contain all the instructions for a hair follicle and grew them in the lab, until they formed immature follicles.
These were then implanted in on the backs of hairless mice. Within two to three weeks, the mice sprouted hairs. The technique was also used to grow whiskers.
The mice also grew tufts of hair when human stem cells, gleaned from the scalp of a balding man were used.
Such stem cells in the future could be extracted from a sample of skin taken from a man's scalp and grown into healthy follicles. Tens of thousands would then be grown in the lab before being re-injected into a bald patch.
The team also showed that by including a particular type of stem cell in the mix, it is possible to produce hair that is colored in lieu of white, meaning that men who take advantage of the treatment may have their hairline and color of their youth.
It may also be possible to create a treatment for those men who have gone gray, but are not thin on top.
"We expect that our technologies will help to restore color to gray hair. We think that the person's natural color will be reproduced by our technology in the future," researchers say.
There will be a price to pay. Rejuvenation won't come cheap, with the stem cell treatment expected to cost thousands of pounds.
David Fenton, a consultant dermatologist at hair loss expert at St Thomas' Hospital in London says that the "very elegant and beautifully done" research would likely be of most benefit to burns patients and people with bad scarring over much of their scalp.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Baldness, hair color, bristly mice, Japanese scientists, research
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