Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee reported that stem cells found in hair follicles could be used as an alternative to embryonic stem cells.

The epidermal neural crest stem cells from hair follicles can be isolated in a minimally invasive procedure, at high purity levels, and similarly to embryonic stem cells, have a high degree of plasticity and can be expanded in culture.

The epidermal neural crest stem cells had been tested in mice and the results were extraordinary.

Mice who suffered spinal cord injuries were injected with the epidermal neural crest stem cells. The cells managed to integrate into the spinal cord, stay at the place of the scene, survive and not form any tumors.
The scientists are more than pleased with such results as these types of cells may be beneficial in treating diseases like Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke.

The biggest potential of the cells is that the patients can be their own donors, which would drastically improve the chances of tissue incompatibility and avoid ethical issues that have been associated with embryonic stem cells.