According to a new study released by a stem cell team from Yokohama National University, researchers were able to regrow hair on mice using dimethylpolysiloxane, the silicone added to McDonald's fries to stop cooking oil from frothing.
The study, which was released in the Biomaterials journal last Thursday, the "simple" method allowed scientists to successfully mass-produce "hair follicle germs" (HFG) for the first time, thanks to the addition of the chemical substrate. HFG's are known as the "Holy Grail" for scientists seeking a cure for baldness, and the key to growing so many at once was the choice of substrate materials for the latest test.
“The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for the culture vessel,” Professor Junji Fukuda, of Yokohama National University, said in the study. “We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) at the bottom of culture vessel, and it worked very well.”
The technique allowed scientists to create 5,000 HFGs simultaneously and seed them onto a mouse's body. Within days, Fukuda and the rest of his team reported seeing black hairs, new growth, on the areas of the mouse where the HFGs were transplanted.
"This simple method is very robust and promising. We hope that this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia," adds Fukuda. "In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells."
Don't go buying a large fry from McDonalds and rub it on your bald head just yet. While the research sounds promising, any process in which a drug treatment could be approved by the FDA would be years away.