Test-tube grown hair follicles, an anti-baldness hope

Researchers: “The ultimate goal is to develop regenerative drugs and treatments”

Hair follicles grown and grown ‘in test tube’: an aid to pharmacological research and a hope for new anti-baldness treatments. This is the result announced by a group of Japanese scientists from Yokohama National University, in a study published in ‘Science Advances’. The team managed to obtain in vitro, with an efficiency of almost 100%, follicular organoids with lots of ‘hair’. Miniature replicas with hair stems which, after 23 days in culture, have reached a length of about 3 millimeters.

The hair follicle model developed by the Japanese team – supported in its research also by institutional funds – in addition to improving the understanding of how these structures develop, according to the authors of the work could contribute to the development and evaluation of therapies against hair loss and hair loss, the analysis of pigmenting treatments and the development of solutions to regenerate follicles. In fact, by analyzing the possible use of these organoids for drug screening and regenerative medicine, the scientists were able on the one hand to pigment the ‘hairs’ grown by adding a drug that stimulates melanocytes to the culture broth. And on the other hand, by transplanting the organoids they achieved an efficient regeneration of follicles that produced multiple cycles of ‘hair’.

For the future, the researchers intend to optimize the new organoid culture system using human cells. “Our next step will be to use cells of human origin – anticipates Junji Fukuda, among the authors – and to apply to be able to develop drugs and regenerative treatments”.