Treatment of alopecia by transplantation of hair follicle stem cells and dermal papilla cells encapsulated in alginate gels
Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(5):1014-6
The affected individual of hair loss demands help, because hair is viewed as a sign of youth and good health. Nowadays treatment of alopecia includes drug therapy and hair transplantation. Some drugs may promote hair growth, at least temporarily, but the treatment is effective only in milder alopecia, instead of extensive alopecia. Furthermore, the side effect of long period medication could not be avoided.
Hair transplantation involves harvesting small pieces of hair-bearing scalp grafts from a donor site and relocating them to a bald area. This method does not increase the number of existing hairs, but only redistributes them. The operation is sophisticated and time-consuming, thus the patient suffers a lot during the process.
The discovery of hair follicle stem cells (FSC) brings gospel to the affected individual of hair loss because of its capacity of generating new hair when they interact with mesenchymal dermal papilla cells (DPC). Besides, both FSC and DPC have strong proliferative capacity and the patient’s own cells could be expanded considerably in vitro.
Thus we hypothesize that the microencapsulation of the two kinds of cells in alginate gels could be implanted into the bald scalp of the patient since alginate gels is effective in cell transplantation. The strategy may provide a more convenient and valid alternative to hair loss if the hypothesis proved to be practical.