The process of hair growth intrigues researchers, because understanding the process may provide insights about using stem cells for tissue “repair and renewal” more broadly. Recently, Genes and Development published a study performed by Stanford dermatologist Anthony Oro, MD, PhD, and his colleagues, with interesting implications for the field of regenerative medicine.
The study investigated stem cell activity in a mouse model of a human condition called “Timothy’s Syndrome (TS).” Children with TS are born bald and remain so for many months or even years, have cardiac abnormalities, physical malformations and have a very low life expectancy. A TS patient has genetic mutations in a calcium channel that controls the timing of the heartbeat; however the patient will exhibit both cardiac arrhythmia and delays in hair growth. The study examined this genetic mutation, specifically the link between the lack of hair growth and the cardiac abnormality.
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