A hair loss therapy that involves taking hair “seeds” from the scalp and multiplying them in a laboratory before planting them back into the patient is being developed in Japan. Kyocera Corp., the government-affiliated Riken research institute and Organ Technologies Inc., a Tokyo-based medical business venture, are hoping to put the regenerative medicine approach into practical use by 2020. The trio will be using organ regeneration technology developed by a Riken laboratory led by Takashi Tsuji, which involves taking two types of cells from the back of the patient’s head and creating lumps of cells that serve as seeds of hair. When those seeds are grown and multiplied at an external location, such as at a medical institution, and transplanted into hairless skin, they are expected to take root beneath the "farmland soil" of the scalp, and start to grow hair. A similar regenerative technology proved successful in mice in 2012, officials said. One therapy currently being widely used involves cutting a section of scalp from the back of the patient’s head and transplanting hairs one by one into a part affected by hair loss, but it does not increase the number of hairs. The regenerative technique being studied, however, is expected to increase the number of hairs. It is also expected to require taking only about 100 hairs, just one-20th of the requirement in the conventional therapy, the officials said. The three entities will conduct their joint research at a base in Kobe over the next two years to study the therapeutic effects and safety of the technique and develop production technologies. Kyocera hopes to contribute, among other things, in the field of machinery for automating the seed production process by drawing on its strength in fine processing technologies. The trio is expected to make a final decision on the feasibility of the new therapy following a scrutiny of its costs and other factors.