Scientists in the US and China have revealed that they may have identified a genetic sequence which could one day be harnessed for hair loss treatment.
Dubbed the ‘werewolf gene’ by the media, the chromosomal mutation is in fact the trigger of a rare genetic condition which causes thick hair to grow all over the body and face. This condition is called Congenital Hypertrichosis Syndrome (CHG) and is extremely rare.
The scientists, based at the University of Southern California and at Beijing’s Peking Union Medical College, have studied the condition in two families in which it is prevalent, one in China and the other in Mexico. They say they found that the DNA of both families contained ‘insertions’ of extra chromosomal information in the X chromosome. This mutation is believed to then ‘switch on’ a particular gene (SOX3), which may be responsible for the excessive hair growth.
The research has been going on for over a decade, but is still in the early stages. However the scientists are hopeful that their new findings may one day help people with hairloss conditions.
Professor Pragna Patel, of the University of Southern California, said: “If in fact the inserted sequences turn on a gene that can trigger hair growth, it may hold promise for treating baldness or Hirsutism (excessive hair growth) in the future, especially if we could engineer ways to achieve this with drugs or other means.”
Hypertrichosis, in which an abnormal amount of hair grows all over the body, has been recorded since the 17th century, with sufferers often being treated as freaks and curiosities, or worse. Most recently, an 11 year old girl from Thailand, Supatra Sasuphan, was named as the ‘World’s Hairiest Girl’ by The Guinness Book of Records. She has thick hair growing all over her face, ears, legs, arms and back. Attempts to curtail the growth due to Hypertrichosis have so far failed, with even laser treatment being unsuccessful.
Upon her entrance into the record books, Supatra said: “There were a few people who used to tease me and call me monkey face but they don’t do it anymore … I’m very happy to be in the Guinness Book of Records!”
Hypertrichosis is often mistaken for the hair growth condition Hirsutism, which results in male-like hair growth in women and children, but this is an entirely different medical condition caused by excessive levels of the male hormone androgen.
A cure for hairloss?
It may transpire that the discovery of this new genetic information may one day lead to a new cure for baldness and other hairloss conditions, but this is potentially decades away.
While there are currently few effective treatments for those who suffer from Hypertrichosis, there are a variety of treatments already available for individuals who are experiencing hair loss. Though media reports often focus on the merits of potential hair loss ‘cures’ that may be developed in the future through gene and stem cell research, the fact is that there already exist a number of effective treatments for hairloss.
Propecia and Minoxidil are pharmaceutical treatments which have been scientifically proven to be effective in treating Genetic Hair Loss. Both treatments have been licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here in the UK, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.
Talk to The Belgravia Centre about your hair loss
At The Belgravia Centre, we use Propecia and Minoxidil in conjunction with a range of other hair loss products and treatments, and have achieved some impressive results, as the success stories on our website will testify.
Our hair loss experts treat a wide range of hair loss conditions on a daily basis, and tailor each treatment programme to suit the individual’s specific hair loss. Tools at our disposal include clinical treatments, nutritional supplements, home-use laser combs and more.
To find out more about how The Belgravia Centre can help treat your hair loss, contact us for a free consultation with no obligation. Alternatively, if you’re unable to come down to our London-based treatment centre, fill in our simple online diagnostic form for a home-use treatment programme that we can post anywhere in the world.