Coming soon: A cure for baldness, say German scientists, who claim to have grown hair follicles from stem cells for the first time.
Although their research used cells taken from animals, the scientists from Technical University in Berlin hope that they can create human hair follicles from human stem cells in a year's time.
Stem cells are the body's master cells. With manipulation in the laboratory, they can be grown into any tissue in the human body from blood to bone and whole organs.
According to lead scientist Prof Roland Lauster, the latest research could be a step towards providing treatment for the 80 per cent of people who suffer from hair loss worldwide, the Daily Express reported.
Prof Lauster claims the treatment -- which would probably require the hair follicles to be implanted on to the head -- could be available in five years.
"Preparations for this are already in motion," he said, adding that the creation of skin and hair follicles in a lab could also prevent the need for testing cosmetic products on animals.
"Since 1950 the number of new chemicals used in cosmetics has risen 500-fold, and so has the need for animals to be experimented upon to ensure they are safe for humans. This could well do away with the need for them to suffer," he was quoted as saying.
In 2004, a team from the University of Pennsylvania in the US also produced evidence that stem cell research could help prevent baldness. However, as of yet, no baldness cure has been invented.