Only Your Fat Cells Know For Sure

WHEN IT COMES TO HAIR color, the best do-or-dye efforts haven't gotten to the root of the problem. Biotech startup AntiCancer Inc. in San Diego has a new scheme for zapping those unsightly grays: Its scientists insert color into fatty droplets called liposomes, which can be applied to the scalp in a shampoo, says Andrew W. Perry, president of the consumer products unit. Researchers discovered the technique while developing a treatment for chemotherapy-related hair loss.

The liposomes attach themselves to the hair follicle shaft and deliver the pigments, which could range from conventional blond and brown to eye-popping pink or green. The company hopes to soon start clinical trials on humans and expects few regulatory hurdles, since the product never enters the bloodstream. Meanwhile, in the laboratory, AntiCancer scientists are already grappling with their next big challenge: a gene therapy that would prevent hair from turning gray in the first place.

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