IIT scientists create mini-organs that mimic hair growth
Scientists from IIT Delhi have developed a silk-based hydrogel that emulates the process of hair growth, an advance that may help screen novel drugs for treating hair loss without using animal tests.PTI | Updated: 16-07-2018 13:54 IST | Created: 16-07-2018 13:54 IST
A study, published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, shows how the three-dimensional mini organs can mimic the different stages of hair growth in humans.
Numerous oils, creams, and medicines are commercially available but successful treatment of alopecia is still a far-fetched dream.
"The major reason for such inefficiency is there is no suitable human cell-based in vitro models available for drug testing. The currently available anti-alopecia drugs and cosmetics are tested on animals," said Sourabh Ghosh, an
associate professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.
"But, due to the differences in the immunology and physiology amongst animals and humans drastically limit the success of such drugs," Ghosh told PTI.
"We strongly felt the need to develop an ideal three dimension in vitro model of hair follicle using human cells," he said.
The team, which included researchers from the ITC Life Sciences and Technology Centre in Bangalore, developed the hydrogel by combining a mixture of silk proteins, isolated from silkworm cocoons, and gelatin. Tyrosinase enzyme was used to develop a stable hydrogel system.
"The system provided an ideal environment to develop a complete 3D model of hair follicle regeneration," Ghosh said.
"Since we have already successfully tested the action of a model hair regeneration drug (minoxidil) in our lab based hair follicle model, we strongly feel that our hair follicle model is ready to be used by companies to test their products," he said.
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