This Is How Close We Are To A Cure For Baldness - Part 2

The rest of the treatments are introduced here. So, catch the facts right. They help you decide what treatment you can opt for the baldness issue you are facing. 

This Is How Close We Are To A Cure For Baldness - Part 2

Hair Transplantation

Involving harvesting follicles from the back of the head that are DHT resistant and transplanting them to bald areas is hair transplantation. It is done by a surgeon who removes minuscule plugs of skin that contain a few hairs and implants the plugs where the follicles are inactive. It was then found that about 15 percent of hair emerge from the follicle as a single hair and 15 percent grows in groups of four or five hairs.

The person will still have the same amount of hair at the end of the procedure as it comes distributed more evenly around the scalp. It can be painful and expensive to treat hair loss. The risk of scarring and infection is also prevalent. 

Low-Level Laser Therapy

A form of light and heat treatment is low-level laser therapy. Shown to stimulate hair growth in both men and women is LLLT. The stimulation of epidermal stem cells in the follicle and shifting the follicle back into the growth phase of the cycle is what researchers hypothesize as the main mechanism involved in the process. 

What Is The New Hair Loss Research, Pipeline Treatments?

Having limited effectiveness and requiring ongoing use for the benefits of the treatment to continue are the existing medicines for treating hair loss. 

The mechanisms that give rise to gray hair and baldness have been discovered by the researchers. 

By trying to gain a better understanding of how the hair growth cycle is controlled, researchers continue to strive for the holy grail of hair loss cures. Scientists aim to target the cause which in turn may yield fewer side effects rather than treating the symptoms of hair loss. Leading to new promising treatments, there have been recently numerous discoveries in the hair loss arena. 

KROX20 Protein, SCF Gene

Having identified a protein called KROX20, that switches on cells in the skin telling them to become hair, are the researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas. Playing a critical role in hair pigmentation, furthermore, these hair precursor cells thereby go onto produce a protein called stem cell factor. 

They grew gray hair that turned white with age when the SCF gene was deleted in the hair precursor cells in mice. The hair ceased growing and the mice became bald when the KROX20 producing cells were removed. 

As said by Dr. Lu Le, the associate professor of dermatology at UT Southwestern, they hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems with this knowledge. 

Focusing on finding out whether KROX20 as well as the SCF gene stops functioning properly leading to male pattern baldness, is the future work by the team. 

The Genetics Underlying Male Pattern Baldness

Discovering 287 genetic regions involved in male pattern baldness is a study led by the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. Linked with hair structure and development were many of the genes that the researchers identified. 

According to a Ph.D. student from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Saskia Hagenaars, they identified hundreds of new genetic signals. Many of the genetic signals for male pattern baldness came from the X chromosome which men inherit from their mothers was an interesting find. 

They could also provide new targets for drug developments to treat baldness, as not only could the team’s findings help to predict a man’s likelihood of experiencing severe hair loss. 

Those Faulty Immune Cells

Responsible for a different kind of hair loss known as alopecia aerate, the University of California-San Francisco, researchers reported defects in the type of immune cell called Tregs usually associated with controlling inflammation. According to them, Tregs may also play a role in male pattern baldness. 

It was found that Tregs trigger stem cells in the skin promoting healthy hair in a mouse model according to Michael Rosenblum, Ph.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF, and colleagues. The stem cells are unable to regenerate hair follicles and this leads to hair loss, without partnering up with Tregs. 

As explained by Prof. Rosenblum, the situation is as if the skin stem cells as well as Tregs have co-evolved as he Tregs not only guard the stem cells against inflammation but also take part in their regenerative work. 

What About JAK Inhibitors?

According to investigators from Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC) in New York City, NY, hair growth can be restored by inhibiting the Janus Kinase family of enzymes located in hair follicles. 

Applying JAK inhibitors directly to the skin promoted rapid and robust hair growth according to tests with mouse and human hair follicles. Including ruxolitinib (for the treatment of blood diseases), and tofacitini (for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis), are the two JAK inhibitors approved by the FDA. 

Treating moderate to severe alopecia areata with ruxolitinib triggered an average hair regrowth of 92 percent as reported in a small clinical trial by Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D. – the Richard and Mildred Rhodebeck Professor of Dermatology and professor of genetics and development at CUMC.

To include testing JAK inhibitors in other conditions and pattern baldness, Prof. Christiano and the team plans to expand their studies. She added further that they expect JAK inhibitors to have widespread utility across many forms of hair loss based on their mechanism of action in both hair follicle as well as immune cells.  

The Stem Cells

Developing a technique to generate new hair using pluripotent stem cells, are the researchers from the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in San Diego, CA. without being limited to transplanting follicles from one part of the head to another, as this method would provide an unlimited source of cells. 

Coaxing human pluripotent stem cells to become dermal papilla cells was Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., associate professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program at Sanford-Burnham, and collaborators. 

As Prof. Terskikh says they have developed a protocol driving human pluripotent stem cells differentiating into dermal papillae cells confirming their ability to induce hair growth when transplanted into mice. 

Transplanting human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells into human subjects is the next step in their research. 

Finally…

Research is ongoing and the wait for a permanent solution continues although giant strides to cure baldness are being made in laboratories globally. 

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