01/29/2014 10:53 EST | Updated 03/31/2014 05:59 EDT

Stem cells used to reverse hair loss in mice

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made a hair-raising discovery — they've used stem cells to reverse hair loss, CBC's John Northcott reports.

Xiaowei Xu, an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine, and his colleagues converted adult skin cells into epithelial stem cells — the first time that has been done in mice or humans.

Epithelial stem cells are normally found at the bulge of hair folicles.

So far, the research has only been conducted on mice, but the potential impact for the regrowth of human hair could be huge.