According to researchers at a small biotechnology company called AntiCancer, Inc., it may soon be possible to resuscitate gray hair and recover follicles that have gone dormant. These researchers, who work primarily to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic models for treating cancer, are growing various types of cancer cells on artificial sponge-gel matrices as part of this research.
When they tried to grow normal human skin on the gel matrices, they were surprised to see that not only did the cells grow, but they also produced hair! Having done that, they began to screen for molecules that might modify hair growth. Working along these lines, the researchers found that liposomes (synthetic microscopic phospholipid spheres) could be used to selectively and efficiently target molecules to the follicle cells.
They have now reported the successful delivery of plasmid DNA coding for the lacZ gene to mouse skin cells. "We were able to selectively target the lacZ reporter gene to the hair follicles of mice after topical application of the gene entrapped in liposomes. These results demonstrate that highly selective, safe gene therapy for the hair process is feasible," said Dr. Robert Hoffman, founder and president of AntiCancer, Inc. He believes the findings have laid the groundwork for the treatment of baldness or for methods of artificial darkening of hair that has turned gray with age, using a very safe and relatively straightforward procedure. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health find this work encouraging. Stay tuned!
If you'd like to read more about hair loss and replacement, check out the Bald Man's Home Page -- it's one of the best around! Now that you're better informed, you'll be able to work with your doctor to make the right decision about your hair loss.
One last thought: What's on the inside really does mean more than what's on the outside. And there are still bald men who wear their smooth pates proudly -- check out the Bald Headed Men of America Web site!
For lots more information on hair replacement and related topics, check out the links on the next page.