Hair restoration at the cellular level. Is it possible?

Some day the best hair transplant, may not come from finding the best hair transplant surgeon. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania may have come a small step closer. But first, a little hair biology is in order: It takes two kinds of cells to make hair grow. Epithelial cells which make up the actual hair shaft and dermal papillae cells, which control the growth of epithelial cells and, consequently, hair growth.

When men experience male pattern baldness, they lose both types of cells. This leads to miniaturization of the follicle, which also causes the hairs to get miniature. Eventually, they stop growing altogether. The key to solving male pattern baldness may lie at the very bottom of the hair shaft (called the bulb). In order for hair to grow, there must be plenty of epithelial stem cells in the bulb.

Scientists have known how to identify these epithelial stem cells. What they haven’t been able to do is get them to grow and multiply. That has changed, thanks to the University of Pennsylvania researchers. They have been able to multiply and grow large amounts of these cells in the lab. What has to happen now is finding away to make the same thing happen on a man’s scalp. The same researchers think that this may take about ten years of further research. If you don’t wait that long, you’ll have to find the best hair transplant surgeon and have a transplant the traditional way.