January 14, 2015

Hair loss is a fact of life. For most people, it is a natural occurrence that comes on gradually with age. But for others, it can be an upsetting experience, especially when it happens prematurely or abruptly. More than 50 million American men fall into this category, as well as approximately 30 million women. It can be distressing for suffers, many of whom turn to their medical care provider for treatments to regrow their hair. Treatments for regrowth depend on the cause of the hair loss and success varies from person to person. The most common cause of hair loss can be attributed to genetics, but behavioral influences could also cause a person to experience thinning or loss of hair. This includes diet, medications, haircare treatments, illnesses, and stress. The most common type of treatments are topical or injectable regrowth medications and hair transplant procedures. These are treatments that could be used on natural hair loss or thinning, such as when caused by genetics. Also, behavioral- or medically-triggered hair loss can often be reversed when the underlying cause is treated. For example, along with many other changes going on in their bodies, mild hair loss is also a symptom some women experience throughout the stages of pregnancy. This usually goes away after childbirth. Another case is people with low iron levels can also experience thinning of the hair or hair loss. Once the blood has returned to normal iron levels with anemia treatments or changes in diet, the hair loss can be restored.

There are many circumstances though, where hair growth using these traditional methods will not work. But help could soon be on the horizon for those sufferers. A new method is emerging possibly, thanks to new discoveries made through advancements in stem cell research. Researchers from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute recently released their findings of a stem cell study1 that involving lab-manipulated human pluripotent stem cells and the regrowth of hair. Using a method the researchers developed, they were able to create new cells capable of initiating human hair growth. The researchers prompted human pluripotent stem cells to separate into dermal papilla cells, which regulate human hair growth. These new dermal papilla cells were then injected into bald mice, who then successfully regrew hair. The next step for the researcher is human trials.

Stem cell research such as this is advancing at an incredible rate and giving renewed hope to many types of patients. Scientists and researchers have developed countless medical treatments using stem cells derived from numerous sources. This includes stem cells found in or on different areas of the body (the skin or teeth, for example), as well as areas with higher concentrations such as the bone marrow and cord blood. Because of these advances and the potential of stem cells from various sources to cure diseases, more and more families are being proactive in ensuring their family will always have access to matching stem cells. Cord blood banking provides that security. By choosing cord blood banking, parents are protecting their child’s medical future. Umbilical cord banking means peace of mind for parents by ensuring them that perfectly genetically matched stem cells will always be there for their child if they are ever needed.

  • Gnedeva K, Vorotelyak E, Cimadamore F, Cattarossi G, Giusto E, et al. (2015) Derivation of Hair-Inducing Cell from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. PLoS ONE 10(1): e0116892. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116892
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