Cure for baldness possible after molecule breakthrough

A cure for baldness could be one step closer after scientists managed to reverse hair loss in mice.

Researchers have discovered a special molecule which promotes hair growth and could be used in future drug treatments.

The breakthrough means new creams and lotions could now be manufactured instead of relying on costly transplants to fight baldness.

A US lab study looked at dermal papillae cells, which sit at the base of the hair follicles and support regrowth.

Scientists compared 2D versions of cells grown in dishes with 3D structures called spheroids, looking at how quickly hair regrew on mice.

Mice treated with the 3D cells regained 90 per cent of their hair coverage after 15 days of the 20-day trial.

It was thanks to molecules – known as a microRNAs (MiRNAs) – which boosted hair follicle growth when scientists increased its levels.

Now, researchers believe shortcut treatments which don’t involve growing entire new cells could treat baldness.

The findings from scientists at North Carolina State University, USA, were published in the latest edition of journal Science Advances.

Ke Cheng, lead researcher on the study, said: ‘Cell therapy with the 3D cells could be an effective treatment for baldness, but you have to grow, expand, preserve and inject those cells into the area.

‘MiRNAs, on the other hand, can be utilized in small molecule-based drugs.

‘So potentially you could create a cream or lotion that has a similar effect with many fewer problems.

‘Future studies will focus on using just this miRNA to promote hair growth.’

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