Hopes for baldness cure as hairless mouse grows 'fur'

Thousands of pounds have been spent and hours have painful surgery have been endured. But man's eternal quest for a full head of hair could at last be at an end.

Thousands of pounds have been spent and hours have painful surgery have been endured. But man's eternal quest for a full head of hair could at last be at an end.

Scientists have shown that it is possible to grow the key skin cells responsible for regenerating hair, by identifying the important "stem cells" that can be coaxed into making the follicles that produce fresh hairs.

The researchers believe that the findings could also lead to using the same stem cells of the skin for replenishing damaged tissues or organs in order to heal wounds, and even to treat degenerative brain illnesses such as Parkinson's disease.

Elaine Fuchs of Rockefeller University in New York said that the stem cells of the skin have the capacity to develop into many different types of specialised tissues that can be used in transplant operations.

"The results demonstrate that individual cells isolated from hair follicles can be cultured in the laboratory and retain a capacity to make multiple cell types when grafted," Professor Fuchs said.

"We identified skin stem cells that bear all the characteristics of true stem cells - the ability for self-renewal and multipotency required to differentiate into all lineages of epidermis [skin] and hair," she said.

In a study published in the journal Cell, the scientists isolated the stem cells from the skin of a mouse and cultured them in the laboratory by bathing them in growth factors. They then transplanted the cells into the skin of a strain of hairless mouse.

"Previously, researchers have done similar transplant experiments with dissected parts of the hair follicle, and while they've had evidence that hair follicle structures were forming, they didn't see generation of hair," Professor Fuchs said.

"In contrast, in our experiments we saw quite a density of hairs, in some cases at a density that's very similar to that of normal mouse fur.

"While we are not yet able to achieve such density 100 per cent of the time, the fact that we do get such density in some cases tells us that the system is working well. We just need to tweak it to the point where we can get such results consistently," she said.

The researchers are trying to find similar stem cells in human skin with the hope to using the technique to reverse baldness, as well as culturing the cells for the treatment of other conditions, such as some forms of blindness.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral