I’m always excited to find a follow-up to a story I’ve written about here before. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s happened too often. Could be because this is only my 63rd post, but I’m not one to point fingers. In any case, we have a follow-up on a subject that I’m particularly happy to report on.
I don’t want to go bald. I have friends that are bald. They can rock it. I’d look really weird. And I don’t think I could ever find a workable hair piece either. Yikes.
Luckily, I may not have to worry much longer. Dr. George Cotsarelis’ research team at the University of Pennsylvania published their discovery of a molecule that blocks hair growth, and thus a therapeutic target for baldness, in the March issue of Science Translational Medicine.
Previously, I shared a story about the discovery of stem cells in the scalp responsible for making the hair grow. That research discovered that these cells were still functional in balding people, but something had caused them to stop doing their job – leading to hair loss.
This research team found the culprit. They looked at scalp samples from balding and non-bald spots on men with male-pattern baldness. In the balding spots, a molecule called PGD2 was found at levels up to 3 times as high as non-balding spots.
It appears as though this molecule is acting as an inhibitor of hair growth. Could be responsible for blocking the hair stem cells from working. When they added PGD2 to cultured hair cells, it seriously blocked their growth.
Now things get interesting. Scientists know the receptor that recognizes this molecule and thus allows it to inhibit hair growth. Drugs could be designed to block the function of this receptor. Theoretically, we could then negative the inhibitor and restore hair growth.
And then….”Balding – You’re Fired!” I couldn’t resist.
Thanks & Gig ‘Em.