Writing in the FASEB journal this month, researchers claim that they have successfully isolated the gene responsible for causing a rare hair loss condition called Atrichia with Papular Lesions. Nicknamed the ‘human hairless gene’, scientists believe that this particular gene is responsible for regulating the activities of other hair genes that promote, or prevent, new hair growth.
Mutations within the human hairless gene then trigger Atrichia with Papular Lesions.
What is Atrichia with Papular Lesions?
Also known as “Pauplar Atrichia”, Atrichia with Papular Lesions is a rare form of Alopecia. Initially people affected by Papular Atrichia develop popular keratin cysts over their body, followed by a loss of hair.
Because of its rarity, Atrichia with Papular Lesions is often mistaken for Alopecia Universalis, in which all hair on the body is lost. When a misdiagnosis happens, people affected by the condition are prescribed systemic steroids which have no positive effect on their hair loss.
Papular Atrichia is also thought to be non-responsive to currently available hair loss treatments.
A step towards developing a cure
Now that the scientists from Columbia University have narrowed down the exact cause of Papular Atrichia, they can at least provide those affected with a proper diagnosis.
They also believe that their research may have even wider implications: “The genes identified in this study could open up new opportunities for developing mechanism-driven approaches for future prevention or treatment of skin diseases including skin cancer and rare forms of hair loss,” said Dr Angela M. Christiano who worked on the project.
Even more importantly for those affected by Atrichia with Papular Lesions, the research team were able to “toggle” the effects of the gene in the lab, effectively turning it on and off. By properly understanding the way in which the mutation works and how it can be reversed means that the development of a proper cure for Papular Atrichia may be possible in the future.
Today’s hair loss treatment options
Papular Atrichia is still a relatively rare hair loss condition so it is statistically unlikely to be the cause of most hair loss incidents.
Anyone concerned about hair loss should contact a hair loss specialist for a full and accurate diagnosis so that, if the condition is treatable, the process of regrowing hair can commence as soon as possible.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our online diagnostic form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our hair loss success stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 0800 077 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.