Experts have successfully regrown hair on bald mice under lab conditions in a technique they say could be easily transferred to humans.
Professor Junji Fukuda, of Yokohama National University, said: “This simple method is very robust and promising.
“We hope this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness).”
Dimethylpolysiloxane, which is found in McDonald’s fries, was combined with stem cells in the groundbreaking research.
The scientists from Yokohama National University reported that the technique caused new hair follicles to appear.
Now the researchers hope to transfer the method to human heads.
Their success came when they became the first team to developed a way to mass produce hair follicle germs (HFGs), which is the basis for regrowing hair.
The McDonald’s ingredient proved to be the key to creating large numbers of HGVs in the laboratory.
The chemical makes it safer to heat oil by stopping it from foaming and proved effective in the experiment because it allows oxygen to pass through easily.
Using this chemical they are able to create 5,000 HFGs at the same time so they can be grown on a level that is practical for treatments.
The ability to make these HFGs on such a scale means they may one day be available to buy in over-the-counter baldness treatments.
Professor Fukuda explained the system uses a mix of mouse skin cells, mouse stem cells and human stem cells.
Professor Fukuda said: “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.
“This finding facilitated the large-scale preparation of approximately 5,000 HFGs in a microwell-array chip made of oxygen-permeable silicone.
“We demonstrated that the integrity of the oxygen supply through the bottom of the silicone chip was crucial to enabling both HFG formation and subsequent hair shaft generation.
“Finally, spatially aligned HFGs on the chip were encapsulated into a hydrogel and simultaneously transplanted into the back skin of nude mice to preserve their intervening spaces, resulting in spatially aligned hair follicle generation.
“This simple HFG preparation approach is a promising strategy for improving current hair-regenerative medicine techniques.”