Human hair is an incredibly complex organ and is composed of two types of cells, epithelial cells which are the cells that make up the hair shaft and dermal papillae cells, which regulate the proliferation of epithelial cells and are responsible for influencing hair growth. Men and women suffering with Androgenetic Alopecia lose both types of cells causing miniaturization of the hair follicle. Once this occurs, effected follicles produce hair for shorter and shorter periods of time until the hair follicle eventually shuts down producing little to no hair.
While researchers have been able to successfully isolate epithelial stem cells from a hair follicle during past research, they have been unable to multiply them, which is what would be required to develop an effective treatment to reverse the MPB process or to regrow hair on completely bald scalps.
Dr. Xiaowei “George” Xu, an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine, has been researching a solution to this problem for several years and Xu and colleagues have finally made a critical breakthrough by discovering a method to amplify and make scalable amounts of epithelial stem cells, which is a critical piece of the puzzle that can eventually lead to the effective treatment of common male and female pattern hair loss.