Chemical found in fast-food fries could cure hair loss, Japanese research suggests

Scientists at Yokohama National University have discovered that a chemical used to cook McDonalds’ fries could help cure baldness.

After using the chemical dimethylpolysiloxane in the cell generation process, the research team managed to mass produce up to 5000 ‘hair follicle germs’ (HFGs) simultaneously, according to a paper published in the journal Biomaterials. The scientists then transplanted the cells onto the backs and scalps of mice which started to sprout new black hairs in these areas. HFGs, which are the reproductive source of hair follicles, are notoriously difficult to produce. This is the first time they have been produced in a lab on a large scale. According to the study, preliminary experiments indicate this technique will also work in people.

“We hope this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness), Junji Fukuda, a professor at the university involved in the study, said.

Dimethylpolysiloxane, a chemical found in silicone, is used in the production of the fast-food chain‘s fries for safety reasons to the prevent cooking oil from foaming . Fukuda said the use of the chemical was crucial to successfully producing the hair follicle germs, the Independent reported. According to reports, the chemical is particularly effectives for HFGs because oxygen can easily pass through it.

“The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for culture vessel,” Fukuda said in the press release. “We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane at the bottom of culture vessel, and it worked very well.”

“This simple ssHFG preparation approach is a promising strategy for improving current hair-regenerative medicine techniques,” he added.

Source: The Independent; The Evening Standard; The Mirror

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