What is stem cell hair regrowth and therapy? Find out how stem cell therapy for regrowing hair back and treatment works. Included in our discussion is the latest stem cell cost with stem cell trials.
Stem cell research has been around for quite some time; remember the story of the lovely Dolly (the cloned sheep) which sparked as much marvel and hope as controversy. The focus has since shifted from use of embryonic stem cells to the use of non-embryonic adult mesenchymal stem cells.
Stem cell hair regrowth therapy and treatment has followed this trend with numerous breakthroughs. Here’s about this therapy and treatment and the ongoing research that is very promising.
Stem Cells for Hair Regrowth
For some time, the use of stem cells for hair regrowth has been at the center of medical research with various breakthroughs being made. The idea revolves around using stem cells for hair regrowth treatment.
Why stem cells are targeted for hair regrowth
Stem cells are tiny progenitor cells in the human body that may undergo cell division through mitosis and change (or differentiate if you are the keen-on-semantics kind of personJ) into various types of cells.
The cells in our body are continuously dividing leading to formation of new cells which ultimately age and die. This natural cell death process is referred to as Apoptosis. The stem cells are the body’s natural healing cells and can act a repair system by replenishing adult tissues.
The body comprises of two categories of stem cells, namely, embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic stem cells which can also be termed as adult stem cells or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
The non-embryonic stem cells are found in a number of tissues with some notable sources in adult humans being the bone marrow, blood and adipose tissue. Extraction of the stem cells from these sources involves drilling, pheresis (which resembles a typical blood donation), and liposuction respectively.
Extraction of the stem cells from adipose tissues is the lowest risk option and adipose tissues are in deed one of the richest source of adult stem cells.
Latest Stem Cell Hair Regrowth
Towards the end of 2013, a team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (US) and Durham University (UK) reported successfully growing human hair from dermal papilla cells obtained from inside the hair follicles of the donors.
According to the team, the technique used doesn’t simply redistribute hair follicles from one area of the scalp to the other but rather generate new growth of human hair. At the moment, hair transplant treatment procedures or therapies involve the relocation of hair follicles from one part of the scalp, normally the back side, to another, normally the front.
This procedure “redistributes rather than increases hair follicles and is a lengthy process that can take all day in the clinic and leaves a large scar”. The picture below shows the scalp of a patient after undergoing hair transplantation.
The new approach would instead raise the number of hair cells that are able to produce hair. The procedure involves taking a few hair cells (which means a smaller scar) and growing them in the lab before transplanting them back into the area of the scalp affected by balding or hair thinning.
Stem Cell Hair Regrowth Trials
The idea of cloning hair follicles has pre-occupied the medical research arena for decades. Scientists are already aware that dermal papilla cells found inside the hair follicles can be used to generate new follicles.
However, as Colin Jahoda, professor of stem cell sciences as Durham University says, attempts to do this has often hit the brick wall.
After an observation of how mice grow hair, scientists reasoned out that rodents hair transplant is typically easy because once inside a lab culture, rodent skin papillae have a tendency to spontaneously aggregate, unlike human papillae.
To test the idea dermal papillae harvested from seven human donors was cloned in tissue culture. A few days later, the papillae clones were transplanted onto the backs of mice. Of the seven transplants, 5 generated new hair growth with a lifespan of at least 6 weeks.
Tests on the DNA of the new hair follicles found that the hair follicles formed were human and their genetic makeup matched that of the human donors.
Stem Cell Therapy for Hair Regrowth – Who is it for?
Although the approach varies from one researcher or clinic to the other, stem cell therapy for hair regrowth is increasingly seen as a great way to treat genetic form of hair loss called pattern balding or Androgenetic alopecia.
Male pattern balding affects up to 2-thirds of men at the age of 35 years and reportedly affects up to 70 percent of men during their lifetime. Female pattern balding on the other hand can affect up to 40% of women.
Although hair transplantation (in the conventional sense) is already in use at the moment, a new technique under investigation by a team of scientists at Columbia University Medical Center (US) and Durham University (UK) could restore hope for the millions of men and women facing the problem of baldness and hair loss but are unable to use the current hair transplant treatment options for lack of enough donor hair.
Angela M. Christiano, a professor of genetics & development at Columbia University thus says, “This method offers the possibility of inducing large numbers of hair follicles or rejuvenating existing hair follicles, starting with cells grown from just a few hundred donor hairs. It could make hair transplantation available to individuals with a limited number of follicles, including those with female-pattern hair loss, scarring alopecia, and hair loss due to burns.”
Stem cell hair regrowth has been under investigation for quite some time now and various clinics have been offering stem cell hair regrowth treatment.
Stem Cell Hair Regrowth Treatment Results
Where you can get stem cell therapy for hair regrowth? There are currently numerous clinics offering stem cell hair regrowth procedures in the conventional sense of hair multiplication through relocation of hair follicles from on scalp area to another, normally from the back to the front.
Hair Stem Cell Transplantation® (HST) is one such technique which was developed by the Hair Science Institute and is currently being offered in their various clinics.
The latest technique which is still under investigation at Columbia University Medical Center (US) and Durham University (UK) is still a long way to go before it can be used on human beings. In fact, this technique is yet to be tested on human beings although trials on mice have showed that the technique has great potential to transform hair loss treatment in humans.
Stem Cell Hair Regrowth Cost
We took the time to research on the cost for stem cell hair regrowth among various clinics advertising their services online and the charges apparently range from $3,500 to $13,000 as at the time of this writing (for some clinics, the price varies according to the degree of hair loss).
But the good thing about stem cell alopecia treatment is a one-time procedure unlike topical hair loss treatment therapies that involves numerous treatment sessions. Results are also permanent once the hair has grown back.
But as with any treatment, the price is expected to vary from one clinic to another. So, shopping around may help you save some few hundred dollars. Nevertheless, looking for a reputable practitioner is also very important. Remember, he/she will be working on your hair, and your look.