DALLAS — Scientists researching tumors may have accidentally found the cure for gray hair and baldness.

A group of researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have identified two proteins, KROX20 and stem cell factor, which are responsible for hair loss and pigmentation in hair.

Through experiments on mice, they discovered that hair shafts turn white when stem cell factor is depleted from hair cells. Hair loss is observed when KROX20 is removed from hair cells.

“With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems,” Dr. Lu Le, an associate professor of dermatology UT Southwestern, told the Wichita Eagle.

Researchers will continue to study whether the two proteins stop working as people get older, which could also help explain why people age in general.

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