Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe they have found the cause for baldness, an enzyme which shuts down hair follicles. They think that a treatment for baldness could be available on the market within two years. They are already in talks with pharmaceutical companies about developing treatments that would work by stopping the effects of guilty enzyme.
Dr George Cotsarelis and team discovered that enzyme Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) prevented hair follicles from maturing. The connection between genetics and baldness has long been common knowledge but not the cause. But when the team analysed the scalps of balding men, they found levels of PDG2 to be three times higher in areas in which the hair was thinning.
The lab study on mice showed that the compound inhibited hair growth and stopping cells from working that would allow hair to grow again. Lab tests suggest the treatment may also help women who are losing their hair. Female hair loss carries an even larger stigma than the male condition.
Nearly forty percent of women experience some sort of hair loss as a result of hormone changes during menopause. The nice thing about dermatology and hair loss in general is that you can take compounds that maybe used as a pill and put them in a topical formulation, stated Dr Cotsarelis.
It would be good at preventing hair loss but we don’t know for sure that it would regrow. They think these findings will have implications beyond male pattern baldness but, even if they do not, they think it will be exciting, added Dr Cotsarelis. The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.