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Researchers eye baldness solution

Bald may be beautiful, but researchers at Columbia University Medical Center say they are developing a new hair restoration procedure for men and women.

Unlike current methods, which move hair from one part of the body to the head, this procedure uses a patient's own cells to re-create hair growth, according to the report released by the scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Monday.

"This could greatly expand the utility of hair restoration surgery to women and to younger patients -- now it is largely restricted to the treatment of male-pattern baldness in patients with stable disease," Dr. Angela Christiano, the report's co-author, said in a statement.

The researchers tested their procedure on rodents by harvesting their own hair cells and replicating them.

The scientists implemented the cloned cells back in the mice and their hair regrew. Researchers were able to re-create the process in five out of seven human subjects, according to the paper.

But don't expect the restoration at a clinic near you. The researchers said the procedure still needs further testing.

"This study is an important step toward the goal of creating a replacement skin that contains hair follicles for use with, for example, burn patients," Dr. Colin Jahoda, the study's co-leader, said in a statement.

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