There’s been no end of companies who have been tempted by the riches and prestige the discovery of a cure for hair loss could bring them, and the latest entrants are two Japanese companies – Kyocera (an electronics corporation) and Organ Technologies Inc (a start-up company).
Just like everywhere else, Japan’s men have issues with hair loss – 18 million of them suffer from it – but these two companies have teamed up with RIKEN, Japan’s biggest research organisation. And their modus operandi is a little bit different from the norm…
The hard cell
Up into now, the standard hair transplant technique has involved taking hair from one place where there’s plenty of it and placing it where there isn’t, which does nothing to prevent further shedding. The technique proposed by RIKEN and the two companies involves stem cell research.
They propose that stem cells active in a client’s hair could be isolated and removed, and then cultivated in order to multiply their number. After being harvested, the stem cells can then be processed into follicles, which would be injected or auto-grafted back onto the scalp.
Cultivating better hair loss options
While RIKEN and Organ Technologies will be looking into the possibilities of stem cell proliferation in the scalp, Kyocera will deploy its knowledge in microfabrication technology to speed up the cultivation process.
RIKEN have already demonstrated that they can use stem cell research to regenerate teeth, glands and hair in mice, and they say that they are looking to find a solution to hair loss by 2020.
Obviously, this would be a huge development in the world of hair loss treatment if it comes off – and they’re not the only people who are heading in this direction, meaning we could be benefiting from a new treatment early next decade.