A new topical solution made up of stem cells from fat could help to regrow the hair of bald people, new research has found.
Scientists have found that the solution helps regrow hair for people with a common type of baldness called Androgenetic alopecia - also known as male or female pattern baldness.
This type of baldness is caused by various genetic, hormonal and environmental factors.
It affects 50% of all men at some stage of their lives and almost half of women over the age of 50.
Male pattern baldness can affect somebody’s mental health and leave them with low-self esteem. Despite the mental toll going bald can have on some people, it’s not a life-threatening physical condition.
Before now, ways to treat this type of baldness have been limited to FDA-approved hair loss medications, which are commonly available in the US.
The downside of these products is that the more effective medication options often have side effects which can include loss of libido and erectile dysfunction.
Based on this information, scientists have continued to strive for a safer alternative for the hair loss drug, knowing that many people are still keen for a solution.
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This discovery came after scientists found that adipose tissue-derived stem cells from fat and connective tissue secrete several growth hormones that help cells develop and proliferate.
The experimental study found that growth factors such as hepatocyte growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, insulin-like growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor increase the size of the hair follicle during hair development.
“Recent studies have shown that ADSCs promote hair growth in both men and women with alopecia,” Professor Sang Yeoup Lee of the Family Medicine Clinic and Research Institute of Convergence of Biomedical Science and Technology, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital in South Korea and the lead author on the study, explained.
“However, no randomised, placebo-controlled trial in humans has explored the effects and safety of adipose-derived stem cell constituent extract (ADSC-CE) in AGA.
“We aimed to assess the efficacy and tolerability of ADSC-CE in middle-aged patients with AGA in our study, hypothesising that it is an effective and safe treatment agent.”
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The researchers tested their theories on 29 men and nine women to determine the impact they had.
Half received the topical solution while the other half were given a placebo.
Participants in the study were asked to apply the solution to their scalp twice a day using their fingers - the study lasted for 16 weeks.
“Our findings suggest that the application of the ADSC-CE topical solution has enormous potential as an alternative therapeutic strategy for hair regrowth in patients with AGA, by increasing both hair density and thickness while maintaining adequate treatment safety,” Dr Lee continued.
“The next step should be to conduct similar studies with large and diverse populations in order to confirm the beneficial effects of ADSC-CE on hair growth and elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the action of ADSC-CE in humans.”
This is a big step forward for the millions of people who suffer from this common type of baldness, Anthony Atala, editor-in-chief of STEM CELLS translational medicine and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, believes.
“For the millions of people who suffer from male-pattern baldness, this small clinical trial offers hope of a future treatment for hair regrowth.
“The topical solution created from proteins secreted by stem cells found in fat tissue proves to be both safe and effective. We look forward to further findings that support this work.”