Help may soon be at hand (or head) for the millions around the world who suffer from and worry about baldness. Scientists from the University of Durham in the UK, and Columbia University Medical Centre in the USA, say they are close to finding a solution to grow new hair. This is also good news for burns victims, who are likely to be those first helped by any new treatment. The scientists have grown new hair follicles in the laboratory. This is different from currently available treatments, which simply transplant hair from the back of the scalp to cover bald spots and areas without hair at the front of the head. Unlike transplants, the new procedure will allow the hair to keep growing naturally in the follicle.
Researcher Colin Jahoda did not give a timeframe in which his research will be commercially available. He said: "It's closer, but it's still some way away because in terms of what people want cosmetically they're looking for re-growth of hair that's the same shape, the same size, as long as before, the same angle. Some of these are almost engineering solutions." He did assure those with receding hairlines and those thinning on top that there is hope. He said: "I think baldness will eventually be treatable, absolutely." Professor Jahoda's colleague Angela Christiano was equally positive, saying their research could "revolutionise" hair-loss treatment. She said: "The first step is actually showing that it can be done."