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Baldness Treatment

January 26, 2011

Researchers are solving the genetic mystery surrounding male pattern baldness.


Awakening a sleeping scalp. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The heads of men with male pattern baldness may look bare, but their scalps are actually covered with tiny, nearly invisible hairs, each sprouting from a shrunken hair follicle. In research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, University of Pennsylvania dermatologist George Cotsarelis and his colleagues report that these follicles have just as many stem cells as normal follicles. That means they are capable of producing normal hairs.

GEORGE COTSARELIS (University of Pennsylvania):
So this was somewhat of a surprise, but it suggests that because the stem cells are there, it may lower the threshold for developing treatments.

They found that the stem cells have stopped producing a type of progenitor cell needed to grow hair. Now they’re trying to figure out why, and how to coax the stem cells back into action. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.