Scientists at the University of Calgary have identified a certain type of stem cells they say could one day lead to a treatment for male pattern baldness.

Researcher Jeff Biernaskie says they have long suspected there are specialized cells at the base of adult hair follicles, but they weren't sure how they worked.

U of C baldness research

Jeff Biernaskie's research team at the University of Calgary says a recent stem cell discovery is shedding new light on hair growth. (CBC)

Biernaski says their discovery will help unravel the mystery and could open the door to all sorts of possibilities, including helping those who've lost their hair to chemotherapy or severe burns.

"So you can imagine taking a biopsy from a patient, isolating out just the dermal stem cells, and then very efficiently growing those up in a dish and then re-transplanting them back into a wound in order to ... regenerate that tissue," he said. 

Biernaskie says his team has already been working on this project for four years, but it will likely be another decade before clinical trials begin with humans.

With files from CBC's Maureen Miller