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22nd Jun 2024

Scientists may have discovered potential cure for baldness

Ryan Price

We could be on the brink of a major breakthrough in preventing hair loss.

A team of scientists at the University of Manchester have made a new cell discovery that has the potential to lead to a cure for baldness.

The research found that a biological stress response can cause hair follicles to switch off and die, robbing people of their locks.

According to study author Dr Talveen Purba, this “integrated stress response” acts as a regulator for non-essential bodily functions such as hair growth during an infection or when the body isn’t getting enough nutrients.

His team conducted a study of follicles in their lab and found that the process can go haywire and kill off scalp cells for good.

This led to a collective belief that stopping the response with a drug could halt balding once and for all.

“This stress response may be implicated in a number of hair loss disorders, including pattern hair loss,” Dr Purba said.

“We’re incredibly hopeful that targeting it could lead to new treatments,” he added.

“A complete reversal is unlikely and you probably wouldn’t have a lot of luck trying to regenerate hair in people who have completely lost it. But if you catch it as they are actively losing it, it’s possible you could stop the process.

“Our key next steps are to confirm this is happening in people, then to work out if we can control it.”

Pattern baldness affects about 85 per cent of men by the age of 50 and half of women by age 70.

Millions of Brits who have hair loss struggle with mental health issues as a result of the stigma surrounding it, while many more lose their hair due to chemotherapy or illnesses like lupus or psoriasis.

Dr Purba and his the team believe their discovery could help treat people who lose their hair due to chemo or scarring alopecia.