For the first time, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania were successfully able to take human skin cells and transform them into hair-follicle-generating stem cells, CBS News reports. These cells were then transplanted onto mice, and turned into human-like skin. The mice eventually grew tiny hair shafts.
The study was published Jan. 28 in Nature Communications.
The researchers began by using a type of skin cell known as dermal fibroblasts. They added three genes in order to transform them into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These stem cells have the ability to transform into other cells found throughout the body.
Dr. Xiaowei “George” Xu, associate professor of pathology, laboratory medicine and dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine, said in a press release that these cells may be able to do more than generate hair. They could also be used in wound care and in cosmetics.