Help may soon be at hand for those who are losing or have lost their hair. A team of Japanese scientists has discovered stem cells that are vital in the hair regeneration process. This is promising news for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from baldness. A cure has eluded scientists for decades, despite extensive research and significant investment in research. The scientists are now embarking on clinical research and laboratory trials. They hope to adapt the stem cells to finally create a therapy for hair loss. Baldness predominantly affects men. By the age of 35, around two-thirds of men will experience some degree of hair loss. By the age of 50, up to 85 per cent will experience significantly thinning hair.
The scientists took fur cells from mice and cultured them in the lab. They observed that hair growth was a cyclical process within the follicle. They analysed the stem cells and used 220 combinations of chemicals to make the hair regrow naturally. Lead scientist Takashi Tsuji said: "Our culture system establishes a method for cyclical regeneration of hair follicles from hair follicle stem cells and will help make hair follicle regeneration therapy a reality in the near future." He added: "Losing hair is not life-threatening, but it adversely affects the quality of life." Sam Baker, a 52-year-old bank worker, hopes the therapy works. He said: "Having a full head of hair again will make me look ten years younger".