Newly-found hair regrowth molecule could be faster treatment for baldness

August 3, 2020

There have been many leads looking into regrowing hair with the latest being the finding of a special molecule by North Carolina State University (NCSU) researchers that appears to regulate hair regeneration. The molecule could be a new drug target for a shortcut treatment for baldness, which doesn’t involve growing and transplanting new cells in expensive procedures.

The study focused on dermal papillae (DP) cells, which sit right at the base of hair follicles, where they support and regulate hair growth.The researchers tested 2D and more accurate 3D versions of cultured DP cells to see how each worked to regenerate hair in mice, while a third group of mice received a commercial hair regrowth treatment.

After a 20-day trial, the 3D DP cells were found to stimulate the most growth – the mice in this group had regained as much as 90% of their original hair coverage during this time. As to why these 3D DP cells worked, the researchers hypothesised that they mimicked the hair microenvironment best and also had a particularly promising microRNA molecule, miR-218-5p, which promotes the growth of hair follicles when activated.

“Cell therapy with the 3D cells could be an effective treatment for baldness, but you have to grow, expand, preserve and inject those cells into the area,” said Regenerative Medicine Professor Ke Cheng.

“MiRNAs, on the other hand, can be utilised in small molecule-based drugs. So potentially you could create a cream or lotion that has a similar effect with many fewer problems.” Moreover, the isolated microRNA molecule could be easier to use than trying to replace DP cells themselves, and would be a good drug target for future research or treatment to promote hair growth.


Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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