The Role of Cell Therapy and Stem Cells in Hair Growth Treatments
Many options exist to address hair loss caused by aging, genetics, hormonal imbalances, and different types of scarring, but researchers are now exploring a new option using a patient’s own stem cells to stimulate new hair growth.
Activating Hair Stem Cells
Stem cells are cells in your body that have the potential to become other cell types, as well as the ability to divide and create more stem cells.
The stem cells in hair follicles are normally inactive unless new hair growth is occurring.
During the growth process, the cells metabolize sugars in a unique way. As they work to produce energy, they can create lactate as a byproduct. Scientists out of UCLA have found that lactate is responsible for promoting hair growth, and studies have shown that stimulating or increasing the production of lactate is one way to reverse the effects of hair loss.
Stem Cell Therapy for Hair Regrowth
Using stem cell therapies to regrow hair has been tested in mice and in human patients.
Italian researchers used a method called a punch biopsy to remove a sample of their patients’ tissue and spun the stem cells out using a centrifuge. The resulting cellular suspension was injected into a scalp treatment site. After being treated, patients experienced an increase in hair density in areas affected by typical pattern baldness.
The STYLE® study, of which Dr. Epstein was one of the investigators, combined adipose-derived stem cells with the patient’s own fat, and found in certain cases some regrowth and thickening of existing hairs.
Are Stem Cell Hair Transplants Available Yet?
Although some clinics are currently performing stem cell hair treatment, this approach isn’t officially sanctioned by the FDA.
Knowledge gained from experiments and trials may be used to develop drugs and procedures designed to safely utilize the potential of stem cells for hair regrowth. Until the option receives clearance, however, it’s difficult to determine which clinics are using it.
As of now, Dr. Epstein offers a variety of hair treatments to combat hair loss, such as FUE, PRP and SMP. Talk with him to determine the best choice for your condition.