IIT Delhi creates mini-organs that mimic hair growth

The 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. The hydrogel is developed 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. Hair loss is a common ailment, and can be stressful for the people experiencing it. A number of factors including genes, illness, trauma and surgeries can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss. However, as per researchers, alopecia – condition that occurs due to abnormal growth cycle or reduction in the size of hair follicles – is the major reason contributing to permanent hair loss. The study is published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, which shows how the 3-dimensional mini organs can mimic the different stages of hair growth in humans.