Recently published research from the University of Pennsylvania regarding conversion of adult cells into stem cells that regrew human skin cells, hair follicles and hair shafts has given new hope to those hoping for progress in this field. There have been many disappointments in this area of research as promising results in mice have failed to be reproduced in human studies.
It is important to understand how complex the hair follicle is as a structure and that the research is therefore difficult and time consuming. This recent progress still only addresses one of the main areas of research (epithelial cells which form the outer part of the follicle). No progress has been made in generating the dermal papilla cells (the “root” of the hair). Until we can generate these dermal papilla cells from stem cells then the dream of regenerating hair will remain that - a distant dream.