Cure for Baldness Just a Transplant Away?
If the term "scalp transplant" sounds somewhat familiar, you may be thinking of Isabelle Dinoire, the 38-year-old Frenchwoman who underwent a well-publicized face transplant after being mauled by her pet dog. Though Dinoire can blend into crowds and live a relatively normal life outwardly, the immune-suppressing drugs she must take for the rest of her life have had a wide range of unwanted, even life-threatening side-effects including repeated infections and even kidney failure.
A new technique developed by a combined team of researchers from Osaka's National Cardiovascular Center (NCVC), Kobe University Hospital and the Osaka Institute of Technology aims to bypass the issue of tissue rejection by treating donated scalp skin using high-pressure to destroy its skin cells, leaving an immune-neutral "scaffolding" that can then be colonized by the patient's own scalp cells.
The scalp skin is expected to be harvested from plastic surgery operations that would normally dispose of the surplus tissue, so there is no need to move sections of scalp from one location to another on the same patient, as is done in some types of hair transplants. Though it seems to be complex, the new process is still in the experimental stage and researchers expect to achieve certain economies of scale as the technique is refined. When that day finally arrives, the word on many men's lips is likely to be "Woo Hoo!!!" (via Asahi News)
Japanese Innovations Writer