Breakthrough for men and women battling baldness

October 22, 2013

Doctor Angela Christiano at Columbia University Medical Center teamed up with researchers at durham University in the U.K. For the first time they were able to grow new hair that lasted at least six weeks on human skin grafted on to the backs of mice.

It could eventually help men in the early stages of balding and women who have limited hair follicles.

Christiano explains, "It should become sort of more universally available and applicable to all types of hair loss in women and men."

And the discovery - adapting cells - could lead to treatments for other problems.

Some experts say while the new research is exciting, turning it into a treatment is still years away.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say they are much further along on their approach - a lotion that would make the hair follicles you have, grow again.

Last year Doctor George Cotsarelis said his team had found a protein which inhibits hair growth. Blocking that protein should allow hair to grow again.

Dr. Cotsarelis says, "There are actually compounds available that already target this pathway, and they're in development by several different companies."

He says putting them into a topical formula should be fairly easy.

"When you apply those to the scalp, they would inactivate the receptor, and allow the hair to grow."

As for the local research, Penn could start clinical trials on humans in the next few years.

The discovery made by the British-American team is years away from trying it on humans.

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