Stem cells are currently being studied in hundreds of trials across the country. The studies range in topic and cover everything from stem cell based-therapies to regenerate diseased tissue to stem cells being studied to help fight cancer. Much of the research in stem cells regards curing and reducing terrible diseases, but stem cells have also now found use in curing one the most frustrating problems of the modern world baldness.
A team of researchers based out of the University of Southern California (USC) has figured out a way to grow human hair cells utilizing stem cells. The breakthrough came when the team found a new molecular event while studying mice, a new event which could help eliminate baldness in humans. The team used organoids, which are clusters of stem cells grown in-vitro, to figure out how stem cells and skin cells can work together.
The team determined that the growth of hair is a six-step process and figuring out how all six steps operate in conjunction could lead to developments in treating baldness. During the study, the authors successfully stimulated hair growth using these organoids and managed to produce 40% more hair from the organoids from adults compared to cells from newborns. The key came in learning to link turn and turn off different events and mechanisms.
"Our investigation elucidates a relay of molecular events and biophysical processes at the core of the self-organization process during tissue morphogenesis," write the authors. "Molecules key to the multistage morphological transition are identified and can be added or inhibited to restore the stalled process in adult cells."
Other Ways Stem Cells are Being Put to Use
While treating baldness is important for those that suffer, stem cells are also being used in less-aesthetic and more practical fields. Kenneth Pettine MD, founder of the Orthopedic Stem Cell Institute, has been targeting use of mesenchymal stem cells in treating patients with chronic degenerative conditions for years.
Kenneth Pettine and his research team have already conducted over a dozen FDA trials utilizing stem cells, biologics, and other new forms of medicine. With the help of research from teams like Pettine's and those of USC, it shouldn't be too much longer before we see stem cells being used to treat everything from osteoarthritis to male-pattern baldness.