Scientist With Bitchin' Hair Found a Cure for Baldness Using Foreskin

Illustration for article titled Scientist With Bitchin Hair Found a Cure for Baldness Using Foreskin

Angela Christiano is dead fucking serious about hair. After having suffered from alopecia areata, she was compelled to study baldness. And she may have just discovered a cure for it, using the discarded foreskins from circumcised babies.

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For her most recent study, Dr. Christiano, a hair geneticist and dermatology professor at Columbia University Medical Center, focused on dermal papillae, the cells at the base of hair follicles that make the follicles rise. Papillae have the ability to "reprogram" surrounding skin cells to form new follicles.

The researchers took papilla cells from seven men who were undergoing hair transplants, cultured them in hanging drops and then injected them into human skin grafted onto mice. Not just any human skin: to put their ideas to a rigorous test, the researchers made the grafts from a type of skin that is normally 100 percent hairless — foreskins from circumcised infants. A technique that can grow hair on a foreskin has a pretty good chance of growing it on a person’s head, they reasoned.

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And they were correct! So with this method, instead of transplanting hair from the back of the head to the front, new hair is being created, making it more effective than drugs or hair transplants.

New Technique Holds Promise for Hair Growth [NYT]

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DISCUSSION

cassiebearrawr
ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ : Bear Privilege is a Liberal Hoax

Yeah so, foreskins are not actually part of the cure. It's just a kind of skin that's extremely shitty at growing human hair (glabrous skin, which is naturally hairless), so it serves as a good way to test the harshest conditions possible.

I think discarded human foreskin is actually used for a lot of different skin research, as it serves as a nice in situ/ex vivo model.