Could hair follicle stem cells help people regrow their hair after losing it due to disease? Japanese scientists' recent successful experiments on bald mice suggest it's possible.
The Wall Street Journal reported that after a team of researchers at Tokyo University of Science transplanted two different kinds of cells from mice hair follicles into a bald mouse's follicles, almost three quarters of them sprouted hair within three weeks.
The follicles were turned fully functional with the implanted cells — so much so that if the hair was pulled out, more would grow in its place.
Even human hair grew from the mouse when implanted there, and the scientists managed to control the density and color of the hair that grew by changing the type of cells they implanted, the Journal reported.
The team hoped their breakthrough yields a way of regrowing hair for human patients, though it warned that it would take about ten years of research before that would be possible.
It also said the discovery would be better used for those who had lost hair due to injury or disease, rather than simply baldness, since growing large amounts of hair with it would prove tricky.