Nightly News   |  October 21, 2013

A new way to grow hair

Americans spend billions to replace, or bolster, their less-than-luxurious locks. Now, scientists at Columbia University may be one step closer to curing hair loss. NBC’s Harry Smith reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it is known as one of the holy grails in the business of science and medicine. whoever comes up with a bonified cure for baldness is going to make billions and be praised as a hero. while it's the too early for rejoicing among humans there was a recent flurry of excitement in the mouse community when a solution seemed the to work, at least on mice. in a blatant bit of typecasting on our part, we get our report tonight from nbc's harry smith .

>> reporter: for men --

>> it leaves your hair looking radiantly alive.

>> reporter: -- or for women, vanity and hair are synonymous. fashion forward women invest in hair extensions .

>> it covers your bald spot.

>> reporter: american m do everything they can to replace or boler thealding pat the e. blame it on sampson. when he lost his hair, he lost his mojo.

>> it is a special category of dermatology.

>> reporter: scientists at columbia university look to be on their way to curing hair loss .

>> it is an exciting discovery, really. it's one of the first time i think adult stem cells can generate a new organ and human tissue .

>> reporter: dr. andrea christiano says transplanting hair, it grew. a big deal for 65% of men and 80% of women who will have noticeable hair loss by the age of 60.

>> if it works in humans, it opens up the possibility of hair restoration for many more patients than are currently eligible.

>> reporter: she's been searching for a cure to hair loss since she lost some of her hair to alopecia as a young women . while many men have made peace with it, for women it's a different story.

>> it's not the same for men. men who shave their heads are fashionable. seldom do you see a woman with a shaved head you would consider glamorous and fashionable.

>> reporter: it could be years before it makes it to the marketplace. perhaps late for those who long ago stopped dreaming of a head full of hair. harry smith , nbc news,