Is there finally a cure for baldness?

Scientists have found a way to grow complex skin cells, complete with hair, and plant them on skin. Photo / Getty
Scientists have found a way to grow complex skin cells, complete with hair, and plant them on skin. Photo / Getty

Whether it's receding at your forehead, or thinning on top, hair loss can be a distressing experience. But rest assured you're not alone as you face baldness.

A condition that plagues men the world over, an effective treatment may finally be on the way.

Promising to be far more effective than "plugs" or Trump's recently revealed flap surgery from the 90s, scientists have found a way to grow complex skin cells, complete with hair, and plant them on skin.

READ MORE: • The truth about Donald Trump's hair

Previous experiments growing skin in labs, while successful, were not able to produce cells containing oil-secreting or sweat glands, meaning they could not function as normal tissue in the way our skin cells do.

But a breakthrough development by scientists is giving hope not only to those battling baldness but also to people who have suffered major burns and as an alternative to cosmetic testing on animals.

The new method for growing skin in labs creates a product that more closely resembles natural skin.

According to Dr Takashi Tsuji of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, who led the study, artificial skin development has previously been hindered by "the fact that the skin lacked the important organs, such as hair follicles and exocrine glands, which allow the skin to play its important role in regulation.

"With this new technique, we have successfully grown skin that replicates the function of normal tissue.

"We are coming ever closer to the dream of being able to recreate actual organs in the lab for transplantation, and also believe that tissue grown through this method could be used as an alternative to animal testing of chemicals."

The team have shown it is now possible to grow skin as a complete organ with all three layers including a layer of fatty tissue, and the dermis, where hair follicles and sweat glands are formed.

Taking cells from the gums of mice, researchers then transformed these into stem cells which were then turned into a group of cells known as an "embroyid body".

These were then transplanted into another mouse and within just a few days they began to develop into skin tissue.

The new skin was then removed and implanted into the original mouse, resulting in the animal being able to grow hair and sweat through the new skin.

"It is well recognised that current therapies using cultured tissues suffer from critical issues, including aesthetics and the inability to excrete sweat and lipids from exocrine organs," wrote first author Ryoji Takagi from the Tokyo University of Science in the journal Science Advances.

"It is expected that bioengineered (skin) can overcome these issues."

- nzherald.co.nz

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