A breakthrough discovery gives hope to millions of African women

the discovery is “probably the biggest breakthrough in South African dermatology”

Described as the biggest breakthrough in hair loss among African women, Professor Ncoza Dlova, a distinguished dermatologist joined forces with US scientists to unearth the gene that is the major cause of permanent hair loss among women of African ancestry.

Professor Ncoza Dlova’s medical background as the Dean of Clinical Medicine in the University of KwaZulu, inspired the study titled “Variant PAD13 in Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia,” which shows in detail how Dlova, together with US scientists, discovered the origin of CCCA. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CCCA is defined as hair loss that starts from the central part of the scalp and radiates outward in a circular pattern. It is one of the most common causes of scarring alopecia among African women, causing a destruction of hair follicles leading to scarring and permanent hair loss. There are suggestions that the disease is genetically heterogeneous, owing to the fact that the gene Peptidyl Arginine Deiminase 3, which helps mature proteins for proper hair shaft growth, was mutated in most of the affected patients the scientists studied.

From a quote in The Independent newspaper, Dlova was quoted saying that the discovery is “probably the biggest breakthrough in South African dermatology”. She also maintains that they wouldn’t have arrived at this breakthrough without the families and patients that were willing to participate in the research endeavors.

With women representing 14.2% of all hair restoration patients around the globe according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. More research is necessary to explore other facets such as the justification of genotyping in asymptomatic women.


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