New Hair Loss Treatment Research
Existing treatments for hair loss are limited mostly to hair loss and restoring hair to a limited capacity. They also require ongoing treatments for the benefits to continue. But there is new hair loss treatment research. Researchers have managed to discover the causes of gray hair and baldness.
However, researchers continue to search for the miracle cure for hair loss by trying to gain a better understanding of how the hair growth cycle is controlled. Instead of looking for a treatment for the symptoms of hair loss, scientists instead are aiming to target the cause, which in turn may mean fewer side effects. In recent years, there have been numerous advancements in the hair loss industry that may lead to new promising treatments.
KROX20 Protein, SCF Gene
Researchers from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have been able to identify a protein called KROX20, which activates cells in the skin and instructs them to become hair. Furthermore, these same hair precursor cells go on to produce a protein called stem cell factor (SCF) that plays a critical role in the pigmentation of hair.
When this SCF gene was deleted in the hair precursor cells in mice, they started to grow grey hair that eventually turned white with age. Furthermore, when the KROX20-producing cells were removed, the mice stopped growing hair until they eventually turned bald.
This testing will continue to focus on finding out whether or not KROX20 and the SCF gene stop functioning properly and lead to male pattern baldness.
Genetics Underlying Male Pattern Baldness
A study that has been conducted at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom discovered that 287 genetic regions are involved in male pattern baldness. Many of the genes that were identified were directly linked with hair structure and development.
Not only could these findings help predict a man’s likelihood of experiencing severe hair loss, but they may also provide new targets for drug developments to treat baldness.
It seems that it may be possible to restore hair growth by inhibiting the Janus kinase (JAK) family of enzymes that are located in our hair follicles, at least according to scientists from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in New York City.
Tests conducted with mouse and human hair follicles showed that applying JAK inhibitors directly to the skin promoted “rapid and robust hair growth”. Two JAK inhibitors that are currently approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration include Ruxolitinib (for the treatment of blood diseases) and Tofacitini (for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis).
JAK inhibitors have shown promising results in treating alopecia areata. Testing is being continued to find a solution for pattern baldness using these same JAK inhibitors.
Although giant strides to cure baldness are being made in laboratories globally, research is ongoing, and the wait for a permanent solution continues.
The leading advancements in treating hair loss are more prone to gene-therapy solutions, where we will be able to convince the body that the hairs that are naturally susceptible to DHT are the same as the hairs that are immune to DHT, thereby stopping pattern baldness and curing the most common type of hair loss.
Stem cells and cloning are also on the horizon. The hope is that we will one day be able to exponentially multiply harvested grafts and not have the limitations that we currently do with donor grafts.