Hair today, gone tomorrow no more: Japan researchers find stem cells for hair regeneration – The Japan Times

Japanese scientists have identified stem cells vital for hair regeneration, aiming to launch clinical research to apply those cells to therapy for male-pattern baldness.

According to an article published online in the British journal Scientific Reports, Takashi Tsuji, a team leader at the government-affiliated Riken research institute, and colleagues established in-vitro culture systems and found through functional analysis that stem cells positive for antibody CD34 and integrin alpha 6 and beta 5, both adhesive proteins, play significant roles in continued hair regeneration together with a glycoprotein called tenascin.

“Losing hair or teeth is not life-threatening, but it adversely affects the quality of life,” Tsuji said. “I hope to start clinical study soon.”

Biotechnology startup Organ Technologies Inc. had led preparatory work for the study launch with partners until the work was suspended last autumn due chiefly to the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Riken is now soliciting donations and looking for partner companies to realize regenerative medicine for those who have lost their hair and teeth.

In the envisaged clinical research to cure male-pattern baldness, Tsuji’s team plans to culture hair follicles taken from those with the condition using a method it developed in 2007, and then implant the cultured cells back in their heads.

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