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Engineering better hair transplants

Cell-based approach to new follicles takes hold in skin

A hair-raising trick may lead to better hair transplants. Engineered hair follicles patched into skin can be coaxed to connect to surrounding tissue and to grow hair in an organized way, a study in mice finds.

Unlike current hair transplant methods, which simply move existing hair follicles from one area of the scalp to another to cover a bald region, the approach would spur the creation of new hair follicles from existing cells.

“It’s exciting because it shows a cell-based approach for treating hair loss is maybe feasible,” says George Cotsarelis, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

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