STEM CELL TECHNOLOGY FOR HAIR TRANSPLANTS –
MYTH OR REALITY?
Medical advances can now treat complex diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, neurological disorders, and other life threatening ailments. However, treatment of hair loss remains more elusive than ever before.
Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can at best slow down or stabilize hair loss. However, surgical hair transplantation remains the only natural, effective, safe and permanent solution. Laser hair therapy tends to have limited or mixed results as well.
Researchers have been exploring a variety of technologies ranging from Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to follicular multiplication and stem cell technology to solve the hair loss dilemma.
In 2014, researchers in Spain believe they’ve found a way to spur new hair growth by using our body’s immune defense to stimulate stem cells in the surrounding skin.
Outside the U.S., stem cell technology is being used for a variety of treatments, from HIV treatment to reversing neurodegenerative disease. It is widely used in Europe as well as emerging markets such as India and the Philippines.
According to a recent press release, scientists have figured out how to manipulate macrophages, a specific type of white blood cell, into reactivating and rejuvenating hair follicles. The result? No more baldness.
In their study, published in PLOS Biology,* the team succeeded in getting the macrophages to activate the stem cells in hair follicles on non-inflamed skin which is the case with most people suffering from male pattern baldness. Those with inflamed skin generally suffer from auto-immune disorders such as lichen planus, lichen planopilaris, alopecia areata, and other skin disorders such as melanoma.
The discovery was actually found by chance, when researchers realized that mice given anti-inflammatory drugs had the unexpected side effect of hair re-growth.
Dr. Mirna Perex-Moreno, one of the researchers involved in the project, wondered if the hair growth was connected to the body’s immune reaction, and it turned out that she was right. Although macrophages are cells from the immune system which mainly help fight infection and wound repair, it also seems that they play a role in activating the skin’s stem cells.
Although the study was carried out in mice, Dr. Mirna Perex-Moreno, the lead researcher, and her team are confident that similar results can be repeated in human subjects.
The study, although only in the very early stages, may be eventually useful in the treatment of baldness. Male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia is a condition which causes the receding of the hairline and thinning of hair on the front and crown areas of the head. It is believed to be caused by both genetic predisposition and hormones. Generally, men who suffer from male pattern baldness are sensitive to DHT, a hormone that produces testosterone in the human body.
As of now, there are limited, proven solutions to stemming hair loss and a solution to definitively stimulating hair growth remains elusive. Companies have invested heavily in this area in order to find a cure for baldness which is believed to affect roughly thirty percent (30%) of all men. 35 million adult American men are potential candidates for a hair transplant.
Earlier this year, Mark Black from The Trichological Society, an organization that focuses on hair sciences, explained his belief that a cure is possible within the next five years and will most definitely be here in the next 10. “It is a matter of time before we find a cure for male pattern baldness as well as alopecia. We know so much more about hair today and how it grows,” Blake told Express.
MAXIM Hair Restoration is an organization that specializes in surgical hair transplants. The Company operates centers in the U.S. and overseas including New York, Connecticut, Chicago, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Manila. New locations are slated to open in Washington D.C., Virginia Beach, Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta, Doha, Qatar, Al-Ain, Mumbai, India, and Karachi, Pakistan, among others.
MAXIM surgeons specialize in performing MEGA sessions up to 4,000 grafts in a single session which enables one to get a great result in just one sitting.
MAXIM Hair Restoration is introducing robotic hair transplant technology in New York City. Their web site is: maximhairrestoration.com
Source*: Castellana D, Paus R, Perex-Moreno M. Macrophages Contribute to the Cyclic Activation of Adult Hair Follicle Stem Cells.PLOS Biology. 2014.