New hair loss treatment could mean the end of baldness

Scientists might have just taken a big step toward curing baldness. A new technique has been used to grow completely new hair in human skin samples.

The research focuses on a type of cell called dermal papilla cells, which have the ability to grow new hair follicles — even when injected into skin that doesn't normally grow hair at all. (Via Columbia University)

"They took samples from hair follicles from seven volunteers, cloned those cells in the laboratory then implanted them in human skin that was grafted onto the backs of mice. … It resulted in the creation of new hair follicles that grew healthy hair." (Via Fox News)

Scientists have known about this technique for decades, and while it works like a charm with mouse cells, for some reason dermal papilla cells from humans just didn’t want to cooperate.

Now, researchers have found a simple change to how the human cells are grown makes all the difference. Basically, they flipped the petri dish upside down, allowing the cells to clump together. (Via Columbia University)

It's estimated that Americans spend about $3.5 billion every year trying to overcome hair loss — even though, as WebMD puts it... (Via WCBS)

“The vast majority of hair loss treatments being marketed today are still nothing but ‘snake oils.’”

Barring a cure, some settle for just looking like they have a full head of hair, with tattooing...

"Mike's wife watches as he gets the first of more than 10,000 marks on his scalp." (Via ABC)

Or even having hair follicle transplant surgery, which can be costly and leave scars. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

All of this shows just how desperate people are for a cure — especially women, who often have a much tougher time when they start losing their hair.

"...when you wake up every day and wonder what your hair will look like. It affects your confidence, it affects your ability to go out in the world, it affects just about every aspect of your life." (Via The New York Times)

That was Dr. Angela Christiano, one of the researchers behind the new technique, who has been open about her struggles with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. (Via The New York Times)

Other scientists praised Christiano’s work, calling it a big step forward in the field, but say the technique still needs a lot of refinement before it could help any of the roughly 80 million Americans who are suffering from hair loss.

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