Researchers may have found the root of male pattern baldness, a genetic defect that affects the way new hair is made. If they can cure the defect, they may be able to cure the condition.
According to a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, men who go bald have a defect in the stem cells that make new hair. Restoring the function of these stem cells is the key to curing baldness, according to researchers.
For the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania evaluated men undergoing hair transplants and compared their hair follicles in bald patches and areas of the scalp where hair was growing. What they found was that the men had the same amount of stem cells throughout the scalp, but in the bald areas, those stem cells made fewer progenitor cells, the cells that create the hair follicle stem.
Dr. George Cotsarelis, who led the research, told BBC News, "The fact that there are normal numbers of stem cells in bald scalp gives us hope for reactivating those stem cells."
Researchers want to develop a medication that could be rubbed onto the scalp and that would help those stem cells grow normal hair.