Clinical study aims to help restore hair
The Yomiuri Shimbun A group of scientists from Tokyo Medical University, Shiseido Co. and others will start a clinical study this year, aimed at making it possible for people suffering from alopecia, or hair loss, to restore hair through cell transplants.
An announcement by the group that it will proceed with the study was made on Monday.
The scientists think that once cells are transplanted to the scalp, their effects will endure, meaning that the method will save alopecia patients the trouble of using hair-fostering tonics every day to recover lost hair.
The research team will seek to put the method to practical use after determining its effectiveness and safety.
In working to contrive the method, the group took notice of the fact that the growth of hair starts with scalp cells around the root of a hair, called hair-bulb root sheath cells.
Loss of hair from the head usually affects middle-aged or older men and women.
The team has worked out a plan to remove a piece of skin, several millimeters in diameter, from an area around a hair on the back of a patient’s head.
Then root sheath cells will be taken from the piece of skin, cultured and multiplied.
Finally, the cultured cells would be transplanted to the scalp of the patient from which they originated.
The clinical study will target about 60 men and women.
Root sheath cells will be removed from patients at the Tokyo Medical University Hospital and the Toho University Ohashi Medical Center.
Then these cells will be moved to a facility at Shiseido, where they will be cultured. Later, the cultured cells will be returned to the two medical institutions, where they will be transplanted.
The research team will spend three years working to determine whether the patients will be able to regain lost hair.
It is believed that hair loss occurs when the hair is in a state of easily being detached from its bulb.
The clinical research will initially transplant cultured hair-bulb root sheath cells to a part of the scalp and see what effect it will bring about.
If good results are confirmed, the method will be used to treat patients with hair loss.