Male-pattern baldness cause possibly found, study says

Male-pattern baldness affects millions of people worldwide. (Photo: Flickr/OnlyTradition)

Men who are concerned about going bald may have just been granted a reprieve - and a better chance of keeping their locks - a new study says.

The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, says that researchers have isolated a specific protein, called prostaglandin D2, that blocks hair growth and, in turn, may cause male pattern baldness.

Studies on bald men and mice, BBC News says, led to the discovery and, potentially, a cure.

The only treatment for male pattern baldness on the market currently comes in the form of prescription pills, such as Rogaine or Propecia, that contain a chemical called minoxidil. Some forms of minoxidil are also available, in a smaller scale, as a topical foam.

However, the study says that now that the protein has been isolated, treatments for reversing balding could soon be in the works.

"The next step would be to screen for compounds...that would reverse balding or just prevent balding," Dr. George Cotsarelis, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the leader of the study, told the BBC.

Cotsarelis warned, though, that the research could still take a significant amount of time.

Male-pattern baldness, which is scientifically known as androgenic alopecia, is the cause of hair loss in more than 95 percent of men, WebMD says.