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Scientists study injectable solution for hair loss, similar to Botox

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 9 months ago

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have made a breakthrough in the search for a solution to hair loss. In a new study, they have identified a process found in hairy moles that may stimulate hair growth in individuals experiencing hair loss. While the research is still in its early stages and has only been conducted on mice, it has the potential to lead to the development of molecular therapies for male or female pattern baldness.

Hair loss is a common issue, affecting around 80% of men and nearly 50% of women in the United States. The researchers at UC Irvine focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms behind hair growth stimulation in order to find potential solutions. They discovered that certain signaling molecules produced by aged pigment cells in the skin can activate hair stem cells, leading to the generation of new hair.

The study found that osteopontin, a signaling molecule, binds to a receptor molecule called CD44 in hair follicle stem cells, triggering their activation and resulting in hair growth. Mice lacking either the signaling molecule or the receptor genes exhibited slower hair growth, further supporting the role of osteopontin in hair growth.

Lead researcher Maksim Plikus explained that while senescent cells, or aged cells, are typically associated with tissue aging, in the case of skin moles, they seem to promote hair growth. Senescent cells produce signaling molecules that can bind to other cells and modulate their behavior, including triggering hair growth.

Plikus and his team envision a future therapy based on this research that would involve micro-delivering osteopontin to the scalp using a microneedling technique. This would allow the molecule to reach the hair follicle stem cells and promote hair growth. While the research is promising, further clinical studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of this approach in humans.

The biopharmaceutical company Amplifica, co-founded by Plikus, has already initiated the first in-human study of a compound called AMP-303, which aims to treat androgenetic alopecia. This compound is separate from osteopontin but is based on the molecular research conducted by Plikus. The study is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2024.

The potential impact of these findings is significant, as current hair loss treatments such as hair transplantation surgery or daily medications have limitations and side effects. Plikus and his team continue to explore other CD44-binding factors and signaling molecules produced by senescent melanocytes for their potential hair growth-promoting effects.

While the research is still in progress, these findings offer hope for those experiencing hair loss and may pave the way for new, innovative hair loss therapies in the future.

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