Dr Cotsarelis of the University of Pennsylvania has been investigating the cause of male baldness and believes he has discovered the cause. Using cell samples taken from hair transplant patients, one of the tests Dr Cotsarelis ran was looking at the number of stem cells in bald parts of the scalp compared to other places. Surprisingly he found that bald areas have the same number of stem cells as places with hair.
However it was discovered that in bald areas the stem cells – the immature cells that turn into hair producing cells – were far less likely to have matured. This result implies that there may be a problem in the activation of stem cells converting to progenitor cells in the balding areas. Therefore if a way could be found to reactivate the stem cells and get them to mature, bald areas could be coaxed into producing new hairs.
It is hoped that in the next decade a technique will be found that will allow men to regrow their hair – whether that’s through a lotion or cream, or through removing the stem cells from the affected areas, kick-starting them in a laboratory and then re-implanting them in the scalp.
(Photo Credit: Angel Norris)