字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Every year, people spend about $8.5 billion on treatments for hair loss. It's an incredible figure, and it speaks to how deeply people are affected by it, and how badly they would like for there to be a cure. But the thing is, there's no treatment that actually regrows large amounts of hair. A new treatment for baldness may be on the way. I'm interested in the subject, obviously. The drug was applied regularly and new hair began to sprout. A cure for baldness might be the most perpetually delayed of all the medical advances we're told are just around the corner. Now there are a few prospective treatments that are very promising, and we can get to those in a minute. But first, it's good to examine why exactly hair is such a tricky problem and how, over time, hype has often played a bigger role than science in getting people's hopes up for a cure. So the first thing is hair itself is pretty simple, it's just dead cells stuffed with a protein. But the follicles that make hair are incredibly complex. They're technically an organ like your heart or your kidneys. They're very specialised structures that form early in your development and they can never be regrown. By the 22nd week, a foetus already has all five million of the hair follicles it will ever produce, and the hair that these follicles make can change, like how it gets thicker and darker during puberty. But you can never grow new follicles. Now in terms of treatments, even back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s when we didn't know very much about how hair worked, cures for baldness were still promised and they were mostly totally ridiculous. 50 guineas for 15 grafts. Hides some of the baldness. And does it? It does, yes. Experiments carried out on monkeys are said to be encouraging. Testosterone injections, or have steroids rubbed on your scalp, you could have electric shocks, or vacuuming on the skin where the hair was supposed to grow. There was even a Japanese pharmaceutical company that marketed a CD of music that was supposed to promote hair growth. There were so many fraudulent cures that, in the mid-1980s, the American Food and Drug Administration actually banned any medication that claimed to treat hair loss. Now some real treatments were actually found towards the end of the 1980s, but the thing was, they came about almost entirely by accident. Experiments which may produce the world's first real baldness cure. It happened by accident. Doctors administering a new drug for treating patients with high blood pressure found interesting side effects. A side effect of that medication was it grew hair on people. It was a nuisance. It grew bushy eyebrows and heavy body hair. And then a drug for enlarged prostate called Finasteride was shown to slow down or halt hair loss in some people. The drugs didn't actually regrow full heads of hair, and they didn't work for everybody, but they were incredibly big news at the time. The media referred to them as cures and I think people thought that they were the first step in a new era of successful treatments. The problem was that they didn't follow from any big revelation in medical science. Basically, we have a treatment for a process that we don't fully understand. And incredibly, in the last 30 years, those are the only two drugs that have ever been approved for hair loss. Since the 1990s, even though we haven't found any new drugs, we've learned a lot about how hair actually works. It turns out that, unlike other organs, hair follicles are constantly remodelling themselves, changing structure depending on whether they're growing hair, shedding hair or resting. And they use stem cells to do this. It's sort of like they're constantly in development. And they do use a lot of the same pathways and signals that are used in early human development. There's a biotech company run by a Turkish-American billionaire that has a very secretive drug that works on one of these pathways, that's currently in human trials. They say that it can regrow hair. And there are several Japanese research groups that say that they can clone your hair follicles, grow them up in a dish, and manipulate their signalling to grow new hair. And then presumably transplant it back on your head. And their work is also in human trials. All of these discoveries have launched massive new projects that make better scientific sense than previous treatments. But they're often in fields that are relatively new and quite complex themselves. Stem cells are historically quite over-hyped. And there's still a lot we don't know about the science behind hair loss itself. So while a cure looks more realistic than at any time in the recent past, expectations are probably still way too high. Thanks for watching. Don't forget to subscribe and click the bell to receive notifications for new videos. See you again soon.