Gene identification may lead to new hair-loss treatments

March 4, 2008

Newcastle upon Tyne, England - Researchers at Newcastle University’s Institute of Human Genetics have identified a gene linked to hair loss that could lead to new pharmaceutical treatments for baldness, Reuters reports.

Newcastle upon Tyne, England - Researchers at Newcastle University’s Institute of Human Genetics have identified a gene linked to hair loss that could lead to new pharmaceutical treatments for baldness, Reuters reports.

According to the study, which appeared in the journal Nature Genetics, the gene is a cause of Hypotrichosis simplex, a rare hereditary disorder that causes baldness beginning in childhood.

The researchers examined DNA samples from 11 members of a Saudi Arabian family who had inherited the rare condition, and found that a mutation in the P2Y5 gene prevented the proper formation of growth receptors on hair follicle cells.

The result was that substances necessary for stimulating hair growth could not attach to the defective receptors, which may help explain hair loss.

“There is a very good chance of developing a therapy to treat hair loss based on this finding,” the researchers write.