Researchers report progress on possible cure for male-pattern baldness

The Los Angeles Times reports in its “Booster Shots” blog that a group of American researchers reported progress on a possible method of stopping hair loss among men.

The Times mentions that “researchers were able to identify the receptor – the cellular landing dock – for D2, called GPR44. Find a way to block that receptor, or somehow thwart PGD2’s path to it, and, voila! – baldness doesn’t happen.”

Bloomberg News reports that “male-pattern baldness may be caused by a protein in the scalp, according to research that raises the possibility drugs being tested by Merck & Co. (MRK) and Actelion Ltd. (ATLN) for other uses might prevent hair loss.”

Bloomberg adds that “bald spots had an excessive amount of a protein called prostaglandin D2 or PGD2, according to a study in Science Translational Medicine.

Merck’s experimental treatment for facial flushing and Actelion’s allergy compound, both in late-stage studies, block the protein.”

HealthDay quotes senior study author Dr. George Cotsarelis, MD as saying, “Several companies have compounds in development that block the receptor for PGD2. Those compounds are being studied to treat asthma. We think using these compounds topically . . . could slow down and possibly reverse baldness.”

MedPage Today notes that “Cotsarelis and colleagues examined scalp tissue from 22 white men ages 40 to 65 who underwent hair transplantation for male pattern baldness … Through genetic analysis of bald scalp tissue and hair-covered scalp tissue within the same individuals, the researchers discovered that levels of prostaglandin D2 were about three times higher in the bald scalp tissue.”

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