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Scientists Believe A Cure For Baldness Will Be Developed Soon
They are already talking with pharmaceutical firms about making the product, which would work by stopping the effects of a single guilty enzyme.
US-based dermatologists announced earlier this year that they had found that an enzyme, called prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), instructed follicles to stop producing hair.
They identified it by screening 250 genes implicated in hair loss.
George Cotsarelis, head of dermatology at Pennsylvania University, said the one responsible for levels of PGD2 played “the major role”.
He said he was now talking with several drugs firms about creating the anti-baldness product.
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Drugs are already available that reduce PGD2 levels, as it has been implicated in asthma, holding out the hope that developing a related product for baldness could be speedy.
About four in five men will experience some degree of baldness by the age of 70. In bald patches follicles are still making hairs, but less well than before. The hairs get shorter and shorter until they are either barely visible or do not even break the skin’s surface.
Cotsarelis and colleagues found that in 17 men with hair loss, PGD2 levels were three times higher in bald spots than in hairy areas.
When the original study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine in March, he said: “We really do think if you remove the inhibition [caused by PGD2}, you get longer hair.”
He said the finding raised the possibility of not only stopping hair loss, but of bald men also being able to regrow full heads of hair.
Des Tobin, director of the centre for skin sciences at Bradford University, described the advance as “a big step forward”.
He said: “I can’t see why we won’t soon be able to intervene to prevent hair loss.”
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