If your hairline is starting to inch backwards, don’t fear — there might just be a cure for baldness in the works.

Researchers in the US have grown hair through the skin of mice using cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells.

Pluripotent stem cells are stem cells which are able to be differentiated into a range of other human cells, giving them enormous potential in the regenerative medicine field.

The study involved the human stem cells being combined with mice cells and attached to a 3D biodegradable scaffold, which are also used in wound healing.

“Our new protocol described today overcomes key technological challenges that kept our discovery from real-world use,” Alexey Terskikh, an associate professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, said.

“Now we have a robust, highly controlled method for generating natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using an unlimited source of human iPSC-derived dermal papilla cells. This is a critical breakthrough in the development of cell-based hair-loss therapies and the regenerative medicine field.”

The skin is made of three layers: the outermost layer epidermis, the dermis and innermost hyperdermis. The dermal papillae are small extensions of the dermis into the epidermis, most obviously seen as fingerprints.

Dermal papilla cells cannot usually be obtained in large enough amounts to be useful in restoring hair growth. But growing them from stem cells means scientists can create an unlimited supply for transplantation.

The next steps are to translate the results into humans.

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