Researchers Inch Toward Baldness Cure

Research centers on vitamin D, but remedies are years away
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2012 6:11 PM CDT
Researchers Inch Toward Baldness Cure
Researchers are moving closer to a baldness cure, but the progress is slow.   (Shutterstock)

Treatments like Rogaine work best for those trying to stop further hair loss—but what about people who are already bald? Researchers worldwide are inching closer to treatments that could restore hair growth, the Wall Street Journal reports. The market is huge, with 35 million men suffering from male-pattern baldness in the US, for instance, and $2 billion spent yearly on related surgery. Scientists are now investigating the major role of vitamin D, which binds to a receptor that prompts hair growth.

Researchers in California last year pointed to one molecule that works against the receptor and another that activates it—with no need for vitamin D. Meanwhile, in Japan, scientists found that rat stem cells were more likely to turn into hair follicles if treated with vitamin D. But the body can't just be flooded with the vitamin; too much of it can be dangerous. "We're really aiming to manipulate vitamin D or vitamin D receptors only in the skin," says a researcher. Unfortunately for hair loss sufferers, it could be "many years" before such research brings treatments to market, says the Journal. Read the full story here. (More baldness stories.)

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