A freshly identified defect in stem cells has been suggested as being the root of common baldness, leading to the possibility of new hair loss treatments in the future. The research found that a defect at a cellular level stopped the process whereby hair follicle stem cells turned into hair-producing cells. This defect then triggers androgenetic alopecia, a type of genetic hair loss prevalent in both sexes.
Co-author of the study Dr George Cotsarelis claimed that these findings offered ‘a lot more hope that toy could actually get hair to grow in a bald scalp.’ He was further quoted as stating; ‘Previously we thought the stem cells were gone, and if that was the case it would be very difficult. But because they are present it should be possible to treat.’
The research compared cells from both bald and haired men aged between forty and sixty-five years old, and found that although the same amount of stem cells were preserved within the bald tissue did not contain equal amounts of the progenitor cell. This suggested to researchers that the issue lay within a behavioral defect in the hair follicle stem cell.
Dr, Cotserelis stated; ‘The follicles that make hair don’t go away completely, but they become miniaturized, to the point where the hair they normally make to replace hair when it naturally falls out becomes microscopic and therefore invisible. Now that we have identified the problem we can try to better understand how to get a stem cell to make and activate a progenitor cells. And then we should be able to develop new ways of treating baldness.’