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  DR COLIN JAHODA  
 

Dr. Colin Jahoda is a biologist and researcher at Durham University, in England. On November 3, 1999 Dr Jahoda and his research team gained worldwide attention by announcing that they had successfully completed the first ever transplant of scalp cells from one person to another and, for the first time ever, grew new hair on a human without the use of drugs.

The researchers took tiny circles of hairy skin from Jahoda's scalp and dissected out the sheath cells surrounding the bulb at the base of each hair. They then transplanted the sheaths onto the inner forearm of one of the female researchers, Amanda Reynolds.

About three weeks after the implant Reynolds noticed that hairs were starting to emerge from the region. "Her normal arm hairs are very fine and pale, and these were relatively large and thicker," says Jahoda. "They were also pigmented, darker, and they also grew in unusual directions." Jahoda admits that some of the hairs looked lumpy and misshapen rather than smooth. Roughly 41 to 77 days after the graft, when the researchers could be sure that the cells hadn't been rejected, the cells and hairs were removed from Reynolds' arm. DNA testing revealed that the cells contained X and Y chromosomes, indicating that they had to have come from Jahoda. What Jahoda and his team were able to demonstrate is that it is possible to create a new hair follicle by transplanting groups of these cells.

Jahoda says that Reynolds body did not reject the graft because sheath cells are unusual in being able to fend off attacks by the immune system. Jahoda now wants to see whether the hairs are completely normal and if the follicles will continue to produce hair for the lifetime of the recipient. Although the research was designed to test whether the graft would be rejected by the unrelated woman, the researchers were pleased by the surprising results. "It does show the potential of being able to induce new hair follicles in human skin which I don't think has been done before," said study head Colin Jahoda.

Jahoda believes that this technology may have an application in gene therapy but doubts that it will lead to a hair-loss treatment. This however does not mean that another researcher will not use this technology as part of a new technique designed to clone hairs.

 

Related Links

Hair matrix germinative epidermal cells confer follicle-inducing capabilities on dermal sheath and high passage papilla cells. - Published Research Paper

 

 
   
 
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