In order to satiate youth-hungry bald people, scientists are growing human hair cells on mice.
Ernesto Lujan, a biologist and founder of medical startup dNovo, told MIT Technology Review that his company has successfully transplanted human hair stem cells onto a mouse.
The result is a horrifying abomination of all that is good, and proof that science has gone too far.
Just kidding. While undoubtedly freaky looking, the underlying technology is fascinating — and it all goes back to how baldness works. Humans are born with all the hair stem cells they’ll ever have. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.
At least, that's how things currently stand. But Lujan claims that his startup is able to create the follicle-forming stem cells by genetically modifying other cells, like normal skin cells. He told MIT Tech that he thinks the technique could be used to treat "the underlying cause of hair loss."
dNovo joins a burgeoning industry of startups looking to "cure" baldness with stem cells. However, it’s important to note that much more research is needed before a commercial treatment using stem cells is available.
"You’ve got to be aware of scam offerings," Paul Knoepfler, a stem-cell researcher at UC Davis, wrote in a blog post about stem cell therapy for baldness.
So the technology is in all likelihood still a ways away. For now, balding folks will need to save up for hair plugs or a good wig — or just, you know, make peace with your body’s natural processes and embrace your baldness.
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READ MORE: Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way [MIT Technology Review]
More on baldness blues: New Genetic Discovery Could Finally Explain Balding