1. Gene therapy for hair loss
We already live in a time when you needn’t sport a shiny pate, if you care to make the investment. But current hair transplants have their drawbacks. There’s the pain of the procedure (both physical and financial); the scabby aftermath; nine to 12 months of wondering whether you’ve pissed your money away, and a scar that will draw inquiries if you cut your hair too short, like I did. Perhaps most concerning: The nagging awareness that you’ve depleted a finite amount of DHT-resistant donor hair as, inevitably, more of your once-lustrous mane swirls down the drain and out to sea.
That’s why it’s so exciting that there may be a non-surgical solution to a problem mankind has been trying to surmount for thousands of years. Balding, it’s been proved, can be halted by manipulating the genes responsible for hair growth and loss. Scientists have actually been aware of those genes for a while; the holdup has been figuring out how to turn on baldness-banishing genes in specific areas. (You wouldn’t want to pay for a full head of hair with a full mouth of hair, after all.) The dream of consigning the chrome dome to history came closer to reality after scientists at the University of Pennsylvania created a lotion that can implant a gene in the hair follicles of mice without affecting their skin. A permanent solution to baldness in humans may be just 10 or 15 years away.