RepliCel’s technology has proven to grow new hair without transplants, creams or pills because it’s using a patient’s own stem cells to regenerate hair. Buckler said the basis for the company’s science comes from research conducted in the early 2000s in Europe by noted hair biology and dermatology experts Dr. Kevin McElwee, PhD, and Dr. Rolf Hoffmann, MD, who originally discovered the critical cell responsible for hair follicle growth. It is now being tested in human Phase II trials that began in July 2016 in Japan. Two other products of the company are for conditions where there are too few healthy fibroblasts, such as chronic tendinosis and damaged skin.
Like the long-suffering friend who inspired her to undergo the procedure, Ms. Telford quickly saw an improvement in her hair. New hair growth usually take at least four months, but at the two-month mark, she has already spotted some baby hairs. “Not a gazillion,” she said, “but it’s a start.” She’s planning to return for follow-up treatments every six months, and has high hopes of ditching the wigs and wearing her hair in a pixie.
At the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, they showed that stem cells derived from human skin to grow hair when grafted onto the skin of mice. A paper describing this research, which was published on January 21st 2015 can be found here in the PLOS One medical journal. Dr. Alexey, a member of the research team made the following written statement: “Our stem cell method provides an unlimited source of cells from the patient for transplantation and isn’t limited by the availability of existing hair follicles.” Once successfully developed, this could transform a fully bald man or woman to the head of hair they had as a teenager. The main challenge now will be replicating their results in large-scale human trials.
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Of course, there are plenty of men who wish desperately to restore their youthful locks, and a few — we can think of one powerful one — who cling to elaborate comb-overs, but many balding men simply clip their hair short and go on with their lives. Dermatologists say hair loss is emotionally harder for women, who are often deeply embarrassed by thinning hair even though it's quite common. By the time they reach 50, about 40 percent of women are experiencing what's known as female-pattern hair loss, said Gopal Patel, a dermatologist with Aesthetic Dermatology Associates in Media. Women of African descent struggle with even more conditions that can damage hair follicles and cause bald spots.
Cloning has seen many false starts and wrong turns, Christiano told me. Now her team is building “an artificial skin with a dermis and an epidermis, with molds made to mimic the dimensions of hair density,” she explained. “When the artificial skin matures we pull out the pre-formed hairs and insert them into the skin.” Bernstein is convinced that, in the next ten years, cloned hair will happen. “And then the supply and demand problem is solved,” Bernstein said. “Without Bernanke!”
A separate study, published in Skin Therapy Letter — a professional reference site for dermatologists — found that women also benefit from using the more potent 5 percent minoxidil treatment. “Patient-reported improvement in hair volume and coverage appears to be greater with 5 percent minoxidil foam,” reads the report. Plus, because the 5 percent treatment is stronger, women only have to apply it once a day to get the same results as they would with the 2 percent treatment applied twice daily.
Many other women, though, start noticing thinning hair on top of their heads. Doctors say the defining sign is a widening of the part. The hairline itself is usually intact, but the hair becomes less dense behind it. Doctors will often run a battery of tests to make sure there are no treatable medical conditions, such as anemia, thyroid problems, tumors, or hormonal problems. "Ninety percent of the time, it's normal," Patel said.