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Can stem cells cure baldness?
A researcher in Germany says he has discovered a way to regrow dead hair follicles. Could this make baldness a thing of the past?
 
Forget spray-on hair, or those unsightly plugs, scientists believe human stem cells are the final answer to baldness.
Forget spray-on hair, or those unsightly plugs, scientists believe human stem cells are the final answer to baldness.
Corbis

Scientists may have finally discovered a cure for baldness. Yes, snake oil salesmen have been offering spurious "guaranteed" hair-loss treatments for generations, but a professor in Germany, Roland Lauster, may have come up with a fool-proof method — using stem cells. Here, a brief guide:

How will this cure for baldness work?
Lauster, a scientist at Berlin Technical University, says he's been able to regrow hair follicles from stem cells — the body's multipurpose cells that can be grown into any tissue in the human body. Such cells may be implanted onto the scalp, say researchers, so that dead follicles can be resurrected, and baldness consigned to the scrapheap of history.

Great. Where do I sign up?
Unfortunately, you'll have a wait. So far, scientists have only achieved this feat in mice, but Lauster says it could be available for humans within five years. The treatment, researchers say, could offer relief to 80 percent of people who suffer hair loss — including, possibly, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is rumored to be growing his hair long to cover a rapidly-expanding bald spot.

Wait, weren't there reports of miracle baldness cures earlier this year?
Yes, scientists claimed in July that a cure was in sight thanks to the discovery of a genetic link to hair loss. And a company called Histogen has a hair growth stimulant in the works that is being held up by a lawsuit. Whoever comes up with a guaranteed cure could make a fortune — the hair loss industry is estimated to be worth $1 billion a year.

Sources: Fox News, ANI, Nature

 

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