The ability of scientists to clone hair cells in a laboratory means premature baldness could soon be a thing of the past.
A new technique called follicular cell implantation has delivered promising results in trials in the UK where 11 out of 19 patients saw a regrowth of their own hair.
The technique works by replicating remaining hair strands and was developed by the British company Intercytex with the help of a £1.9 million government grant.
As many as two in every five men over age 50 experience problems with hair loss and though more work is needed on the new regrowth method, the technique has been hailed as a major step forward in hair restoration with the potential to help millions of people to regain a full head of their own hair.
The technique promises a limitless supply hair for individuals who have become bald during cancer treatment, from severe burns, or simply the onset of age.
Even though the technique involves more than 1,000 tiny injections to produce an equal number of hairs in extensively bald patients, it nevertheless promises to be quicker and less invasive than current hair transplant techniques.
Results so far suggest that the cell therapy can increase hair count in at least two thirds of patients after six months, and four out of five if the scalp is stimulated beforehand through gentle abrasions which encourage hair growth.
Should independent trials show the method is both effective and harmless the treatment could be available to the public within five years.
The preliminary trial results were presented at a conference of leading hair replacement surgeons in Rome.