Stem cell research

The potential of stem cell in skin research

Stem cells offer potential therapeutic value. The more immediate benefit from research into such cells will likely come through their use in therapeutic discovery. It also offers great potential for understanding disease mechanisms and identifying targets, and for effective toxicology screening. Stem cells represent a powerful tool for applications in bio-raw material screening as well as regenerative medicine. Following information shows the applicability of stem cell research to skin in animal testing by other scientists especially in medical science field.

Wound repair

Epidermal stem cells play a central role in homeostasis and wound repair, and represent a cellular sources of tumor initiation and as a vehicle for gene therapy. These stem cells also have the potential for treating burn victims. Figure demonstrate hair follicle epidermal stem cells that have been used in preparing skin equivalents, forming epithelium in deep burn wounds after implantation. These experiments show hope of being able to culture autologous epithelial grafts in vitro within a short time for implantation into patients. As they show multipotency to differentiate into almost all epithelial cell types, hair follicle stem cells can be used in preparing composite skin substitutes. Scientists demonstrated that epidermal stem cells can regenerate a fully stratified epidermis by in vitro methods. Other studies found that the progenies of epidermal stem cells (transient amplifying and differentiating cells) have regenerative capacity as well.

Hair Restoration

Epidermal stem cells can also form hair follicles and have the potential to treat baldness. Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute isolated murine epidermal stem cells, and showed that a single epidermal stem cell can differentiate into skin, hair and oil glands. Elaine Fuchs and colleagues took stem cells from normal mice, and grafted them on the backs of hairless mice. They were able to show the generation of normal skin with hair.