Androgenetic alopecia is not at all uncommon: with an estimated 50 per cent of men over 50 years old suffering from this type of hair loss, we stand a good chance of losing our hair. But is this a fate we simply have to accept? As we look into the future, can we hope that male pattern baldness isn’t, after all, inevitable? With some highly innovative treatments in development, the answer is a definite maybe…
Split a hair follicle in two, culture and grow it correctly, and it can form two new hairs. Repeat over and over again and you have numerous healthy follicles, ready to be transplanted back onto the scalp – a process known as follicular cell implantation. This exciting idea of ‘cloning’ hair follicles is still very much in development but tantalises with the prospect of achieving thicker waves through a transplant.
Furthermore, at Berlin Technical University there are clinical trials in the works using stem cells to grow real hair follicles.
Another approach this is still many years off is follicle neogenesis. Scientists have discovered in mice that during wound reparation, non-hair-follicle (epidermal) stem cells are sent to the area to repair the injury. This creates a window of opportunity for the stimulation of hair follicle growth – and, consequently, exciting potential for the treatment of male pattern baldness.
Even in the future, the adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ stands tall. By testing for two particular genetic variants, it may be possible to take preventative measures to keep male pattern baldness at bay.
An Icelandic company called deCODE Genetics has developed a personal genotyping service. Are you susceptible to the genes that cause androgenetic alopecia? If you are found to be, you have the option to embark on preventative treatments such as Rogaine or Propecia from an early start.
A Magic Pill?
It has been shown that a lipid compound, Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) plays a key role in squeezing the life out of follicles: put PGD2 and human follicles in a petri dish and hair growth is reduced significantly. The same researchers have identified the follicle cell receptor on to which the PGD2 attaches; now they need to work out how to disrupt the mechanism and slow down hair loss. To this end, pharmaceutical companies are developing and testing drugs that may just do it – and what a rapturous welcome any wonder drug would receive.
HisHair Clinic are experts in the world of hair loss, both in the UK and abroad. If you are concerned with hair loss, get in touch and book your free consultation.