Japanese scientists might have just discovered a cure for baldness in one of the most unlikely places. It lies in the chemical used to make McDonald’s fries. They have used the new method to successfully grow hair on mice and preliminary tests show that it will be successful in humans as well.
A stem cell research team from Yokohama National University has used a simple method to regrow hair on mice with dimethylpolysiloxane, the silicone added to McDonald’s fries to stop cooking oil from frothing. Even though extensive experiments have not been carried out, preliminary results show that it will be successful when transferred to human skin cells.
The study was successful in mass-producing hair follicle germs (HFG) in this way for the first time ever. HFG’s are the cells that drive follicle development and are the most important when it comes to hair loss research. The use of dimethylpolysiloxane was the key to this advancement in studies.
“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 research team was able to produce 5,000 HFG’s at the same time and then seeded them to form a chip to be added to the mouse’s body. “These self-sorted hair follicle germs (HFGs) were shown to be capable of efficient hair-follicle and shaft generation upon injection into the backs of nude mice,” Fukuda said.
Black hair was found to be growing within days of inserting the chip. “This simple method is very robust and promising,” Fukuda said. “We hope this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness). In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells.”
In 2016, the hair loss treatment manufacturing industry was worth $6 billion in the US alone. Depending on the price of the new treatment, this figure could rise even further or fall dramatically. Who would have guessed the treatment to balding could be found in McDonald’s fries? Apparently, the Japanese did.