Latest Stem Cell Research Brings New Hope for Hair Loss
Experts at the University of Pennsylvania say they have discovered what they believe is one of the main causes of male pattern baldness, discovering a previously undiscovered cause, but a cause they hope will be correctable in the future.
When a man is suffering from male pattern baldness, this means that a defect in the way his hair is synthesised by his scalp, means the hair that is produced is so small it appears virtually invisible to the naked eye.
The breakthrough is discovering that the fault lies with the stem cells that make new hair, according to Journal of Clinical Investigation. Experts therefore hope that it may be therefore be possible to ''cure'' male baldness by restoring the normal function of these cells.
Ultimately, scientists may to be able to develop a therapeutic agent that could be applied to the scalp to help the stem cells grow normal hair.
The university has been working with men undergoing hair transplants and the University of Pennsylvania team have been compared hair follicles in bald areas and non-bald areas of the scalp.
What they discovered was that, although bald areas had the same number of hair-generating stem cells as a normal scalp there were fewer of a more mature type, called the progenitor cell. This difference means that hair follicles in bald patches shrink rather than disappear and the new hairs made are microscopic compared to normal hair. In other words the hair roots are not ''dead'' as always previously thought, they are just producing incredibly fine hair which does not cover the scalp.
Dr George Cotsarelis who led the research said:
"This implies that there is a problem in the activation of stem cells converting progenitor cells in bald scalp."
"The fact that there are normal numbers of stem cells in bald scalp gives us hope for reactivating those stem cells."
The importance of this new research cannot be under emphasised, what in simple terms it is saying is that your hair roots still have the capacity to produce hair, but are not receiving the necessary chemical triggers to be able to activate the stem cells and produce normal hair. Instead they are producing fine downy hair which looks like there is no hair at all. It may also be that the body is producing a chemical which actively switches off the stem cells and scientists would need to find a way of blocking this chemical trigger - in other words switching off the off switch!
According to Dr George Cotsarelis at the University of Pennsylvania
"It really gives us hope, because the stem cells are present"
All in all this is very exciting news and Pro Hair Biosystems will be following developments closely.