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Vigorous Hair Growth from stem cells could treat baldness

•, brian wang

Researchers outline a step-by-step sequence of events in the production of hair follicles from skin. Specifically, they were able to generate hair by uncovering the major molecular events necessary for the growth of skin and fostering it in adult shaved mice.

"Many aging individuals do not grow hair well, because adult cells lose their regenerative ability. But with our new findings, we are able to make adult mouse cells produce hair again," says Dr. Chuong.

Researchers at the USC lab could not confirm exactly when human trials could begin but were optimistic their findings could inspire a method for treating humans with alopecia and baldness in the near future by using some of the patient's own stem cells to grow skin with hair follicles in a lab, then transplanting it onto balding areas of the scalp.

* they used progenitor cells, a cell type more differentiated from stem cells.
* They transplanted the cells into shaved mice
* the cells formed skinlike "organoids," 3-D assemblies of cells that gathered themselves into an organlike structure, which in this case was the ability to grow hair. Further, they took hundreds of time-lapse movies to analyze the collective cell behavior.
* the cells combined themselves into polarized cysts, which then coalesced to form layered skin
* they created skin with hair follicles that were transplanted onto the back of a host mouse. Finally, they observed as the follicles vigorously produced hair.

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