New research from the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania could potentially lead to the development of a new hair regrowth medication. This is based around the discovery of a link between the immune system and the ability to regrow hair follicles.
Scientists found that a type of immune cell called γδ (gamma-delta) T cells produces a protein, fibroblast growth factor 9 (Fgf9), that is important in hair follicle growth during wound healing in mice. The hypothesis was proved when the expression of Fgf9 was reduced, which led to a drop in the ability of mice to regrow hair.
“Two to three times more hair follicles”
In further support of the importance of this particular protein in hair regrowth, the scientists increased the expression of Fgf9 and found that the mice developed two to three times more hair follicles.
George Cotsarelis, M.D., the study’s senior author and chair of the Department of Dermatology commented: “The findings help explain why humans don’t regenerate their hair after wounding. The study also points us to a way to treat wounds and grow hair.”
That humans don’t regrow hair after wound healing is seemingly due to the fact that they lack significant numbers of gamma-delta T cells in their skin compared to mice. Because Fgf9 is excreted outside of cells and travels to other cells in the body, and given that it was used on the skin of mice, it is possible that the same treatment could work for people.
It is also apparent that using a chemical that activates Fgf9 production (or another pathway called Wnt, which is activated by Fgf9) may also be a course of action in further research. Follica, a biotechnology company which has licensed the technology, is in pre-clinical testing to use the technology for hair regrowth.
“An exciting new avenue”
Dr. William Ju of Follica, Inc. said that: “This discovery sheds light on a novel mechanism to regenerate hair follicles and opens an exciting new avenue to develop treatments for hair loss in humans.”
However, whilst this is certainly an interesting discovery, it could be many years before the treatment is available as a hair loss product. If you don’t want to wait, a combined hair loss treatment programme that contains the only two medications licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA for hair loss: Propecia and minoxidil can be highly effective.
These two medications, when combined with a variety of hair growth boosters to form a comprehensive treatment plan, give the patient the best chance possible of not only halting hair loss, but of regrowing thinning hair and leaving the hair and scalp looking healthy.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.