Researchers have discovered a new gene related to hair loss that might facilitate therapy for many concerned.

As reported by the science journal Nature and quoted by Science Daily, they found out that the gene APCDD1 is often responsible for so-called male pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss, a hereditary process beginning during childhood. Officially termed hair follicle miniaturization, this process causes thick, dark hair to be replaced by much finer hair.

The good news? In the same study, the teams from Stanford and Columbia University found a connection between mice and men, or more specifically in their hair growth: APCDD1 apparently inhibits something called the Wnt signaling pathway, which has been addressed by researchers before to influence hair growth in mice but was believed to be unrelated to humans.

"These findings suggest that manipulating the Wnt pathway may have an effect on hair follicle growth - for the first time, in humans," Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D., professor of dermatology and genetics & development at the Columbia University Medical Center, said. "And unlike commonly available treatments for hair loss that involve blocking hormonal pathways, treatments involving the Wnt pathway would be non-hormonal, which may enable many more people suffering from hair loss to receive such therapies."

A full report can be found in the April 15 issue of Nature.