A team at Penn has-- for the first time-- converted adult human cells into stem cells that generate hair follicles.
Dr. Xaiowei "George" Xu, an associate professor in the Perelman School of Medicine, led the research team.
They started with cells called dermal fibroblasts.
They added three genes to the human cells, converting them to stem cells capable of becoming any type of cell in the body.
They then converted them into the type of stem cells found in hair follicles.
The test was done with mice, but they think the same mechanism will work with humans.
And they say the technique could also work to create skin cells to speed wound healing.