New Baldness Treatment? Lab-Grown Skin Grows Glands, Sprouts Hair

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A potential new baldness treatment may be just around the corner. A team of Japanese scientists has grown artificial skin cells that possess hair follicles and sweat glands. The artificial skin cells have been created with the help of stem cells. The researchers believe that the skin patches could be used to treat burn victims and as a new baldness treatment. In addition, the technique could potentially replace animal testing in the future. Several attempts have been made previously to create an artificial skin that could mimic the function of the real skin. However, none of the attempts became successful because of the absence of hair follicles and sweat glands from the artificial skin so created. Now, a team of researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology and other Japanese institutions has come up with a solution to these limitations. The complete details of the study have been published in the journal Science Advances.Like us on Facebook Baldness Might Be Heart Risk Signal To come up with the artificial skin that closely resembles the functions of the normal skin cells, the research team first derived cells from mice. The cells were then converted into pluripotent stem cells, which have the tendency to turn into any type of body cells. The team then recreated the skin’s chemical environment to turn the stem cells into artificial skin cells. Different batches of cells infused with desired functionality were created by the researchers over a series of experiments. The artificial skin, thus produced was a replica of the real skin and possessed the epidermis, dermis and fat layer. The differentiated skin cells were then transplanted onto the skin of mice where they grew normally. The artificial skin cells were able to make connections with the surrounding nerves and cells. Thus, the normal skin function, including hair growth, was established. However, the artificial skin cells, thus produced are not able to make nerve fibers by themselves as yet. “We are coming ever closer to the dream of being able to recreate actual organs in the lab for transplantation, and also believe that tissue grown through this method could be used as an alternative to animal testing of chemicals,” said lead researcher Takashi Tsuji, in a press statement. Photo Sources: Pixabay, Flickr