Stem Cells Against Baldness. What’s new in 2017?


The use of stem cells has been one of the hottest topics in the scientific world in recent years and has opened the door to new and promising therapies in various medical fields.

Hundreds of headlines have been dedicated to the new therapies under study and the scientific debate on the efficacy of the proposed treatments remains heated.

We must consider that each country has different internal regulations regarding the use and manipulation of stem cells, so not all countries are able to adhere to experimental protocols in the same way.

Despite the obstacles encountered along the way, some of which are ethical and others scientific, research has not come to a halt, and indeed, the areas of application of stem cells are increasing.

How is stem cell research progressing in 2017?

The use of stem cells in trichology represents a hot topic of current interest. Baldness is a condition that affects about 70% of men and 40% of women in the course of life: it is clear that a cure would benefit a large segment of the population.

Stem cells are totipotent cells, that is, they have the ability to transform into any type of cell through a process of specific differentiation induced by the tissue that receives them: the difficulty in finding a sufficient amount of cells to promote adequate growth in the recipient tissue, was the greatest difficulty encountered by researchers in the years of study.

However, the most recent scientific acquisitions are encouraging and seem to show the way to solve the problems encountered so far.

In the field of trichology, the latest acquisitions have shown that epithelial cells can be converted into induced pluripotent stem cells (known as iPS or iPSC from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) through the processing of three genes. iPSCs are then able to transform into any cell type: they are then converted into epithelial stem cells, the cells that make up the hair follicles.

Numerous trials have been conducted on mouse samples and considerable regrowth and improved follicle activity has been reported.

Stem cells and cloning. Does it work on humans?

Although they have given encouraging results, the studies conducted to date on stem cells are far from having found the solution to the problem of baldness. The experiments conducted on mice are not yet reproducible in humans and the road ahead is still uphill.

The follicular cells obtained through experimental manipulation were very similar to those in humans, but not yet ready for use in humans because scientists have only solved part of the problem.

Mature hair follicles in addition to stem cells in the area of the “buldge”, located near the sebaceous gland, contain an important vital anatomical area, called dermal papilla. When permanent hair loss occurs, both types of cells are lost.

The technique that involves the cultivation of dermal papillae in order to obtain new and vital hair is being studied.

Certainly the results obtained so far give hope, but currently no solution has been found.

It is therefore not recommended to use products defined as miraculous because they are based on stem cells.

We thank Massimo Gabellini for writing the article.


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