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A new piece in the hair growth puzzle


#1

Hair Follicles May Regrow After Head Wounds
May 16, 2007 08:40:43 PM PST
By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

Yahoo! Health: Men’s Health News

WEDNESDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) – A chance finding in wounded lab mice could point the way to reversing hair loss, scientists say.

While studying the healing of wounds in mice, a team at the University of Pennsylvania noticed that the animals developed new hair follicles after their skin was scraped.

This is very unusual, because “the dogma was that when you’re born, you’re stuck with the number of hair follicles that you have,” said study co-author Dr. George Cotsarelis, director of the university’s Hair and Scalp Clinic. And, if the follicles die – as occurs during aging – they can’t be revived.

No one knows if new follicle growth occurs in wounded humans or if researchers can find a way to harness the hair-growing effect without having to actually hurt people.

But scientists are hopeful, especially considering that current treatments for baldness do not create new follicles to replace ones that have died.

“We’re amazed that we’re getting follicles to form,” Cotsarelis said. He believes the findings could even “lead to a better understanding of regeneration that might be important for treating wounds and larger sorts of injuries down the road.”

Apparently, something in the mice’s healing process reprograms stem cells in the skin to start making new follicles, Cotsarelis said. Essentially, he said, the process is like rebooting a computer and sending out a new command through a gene. “You’re getting the clock to go back to where it was at birth,” he explained.

The result is new follicles that seem to act just like follicles should – they sprout hair.

The study is published in the May 17 issue of the journal Nature.

The wounds that appear to cause the hair regrowth in the mice are similar to a common dermatological treatment known as dermabrasion, Cotsarelis said. In dermabrasion, layers of skin are scraped off and healing begins.

So, why not start treating balding people with dermabrasion on their heads? Cotsarelis – who is forming a company to explore ways to develop the treatment for human use – cautioned that it’s not quite that easy. Scientists may have to expand upon the treatment and work with genes to make hair grow properly, he said.

Besides hair growth, the research could have other benefits. “The follicle is a small organ, a mini-organ,” Cotsarelis said. “If you can figure out how to regenerate the follicle, you also have a better idea about how to regenerate a finger or a limb.”

Dr. Andrzej A. Dlugosz, a professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan who’s familiar with the study, said the research is “very elegant” and especially unique since it involves mice that have not been genetically altered.

As to the scientific study of hair loss, he said that hair growth problems are hardly trivial. “There are many types of hair loss, and some of these can be emotionally devastating. Developing effective ways to restore hair can do a lot of good for patients in terms of their general well-being,” Dlugosz said.

Indeed, he said, the research might also help produce skin grafts that look and function more like normal skin in burn victims.

More information


#2

I’m surprised that doctors never noticed that new hair follicles grow IN HUMANS when there is a wound and the skin is scraped.

Wound-care doctors have been scraping the skin on wounds for ages. This is a very common procedure and happens daily, thousands and thousands of times in thousands of wound care clinics all over the world, and has been going on ever since the dawn of medicine, really. Dermabrasion of wounds is one of the most commonly performed procedures in hospital emergency rooms.

So Cotsarelis and his group mean to tell us that this phenomenon has never been observed before?

I’m not saying new follicles grow in humans who have wounds and the skin is scraped. What I am saying is that, if this really happens in humans, it would have almost certainly been noticed by now. Actually it would have been noticed a long time ago and would be common knowledge.

And remember that whenever a wound is created, there is great potential to form scar tissue. And hair follicles don’t generally grow in scar tissue, do they? We’ve all seen people with scars on their scalp (whether from HT or from an involuntary wound). Notice how where there’s been a wound, and a scar has formed in the skin, hair doesn’t grow in that place. There’s a bald patch there.

So Dr. Cotsarelis is talking about inducing wounds in people’s scalps to cure baldness? Good luck. I think he’s making it sound much simpler than it really is.

And what’s with this prediction about human trials within a year and approval of a “baldness cure” procedure coming out of this within two years? Did you read that? I don’t know how they can be so confident of this when they just discovered this so-called “phenomenon”. Does Dr. Cotsarelis have an inside track at the FDA?

At least that’s the way I see it.

I think the jury is still out on this “wound scraping” idea…


#3

Wasn’t there a doctor in France who regrew skin and hair together?


#4

» Wasn’t there a doctor in France who regrew skin and hair together?

Yes, Dr. Barrandon.


#5

There has got to be more to this than that…

If only…

Hell, I’d take a shot of pain killer, a good sized knife, and start making cuts all over my temples if I was sure that they’d “heal” into brand new hairs.

IF by one in about…oh, say 4 trillion chances this WAS true, men everywhere would be sticking sharp objects in their pates and regrowing hair.

It thought Costarialis was fooling around with WNT pathways to get regeneration anyway…


#6

Hey guys,

This new “cure” is not just cutting up the head, although it’s close…

Basically they need to cut up your head so the wound is about 0.5 centimeters wide and skin-deep. They also would need to rub a WNT-activating concotion on your head. The great part about this “cure” is it’s simplicity. Precise laboratory conditions aren’t really needed, as long as the above conditions are more or less met.

Nonetheless, this new “cure” raises some aesthetic problems, even assuming it works in humans in the same way as mice:

  1. You’re goihng to have to dye your hair – the hair will be whitish
  2. You’re probably going to have scars ALL over your head – so the hairline might be kind of weird, with scar tissue forming the front

All the best,
BB


#7

Some of you may remember Thymosin beta 4 (TB4) that was brought on the scene by RegeneRX Bio. and touted as a wound-healing and hair regrowth treatment. TB4 is actually a key component found in blood cells and fluids that accumulate at wound sites. The two may go hand-in-hand and the hair growth seen in the wounds may be attributed, in part, to the accumulation of natural TB4.

Jtelecom


#8

What about Fuchs hasnt she been dabbling with wnt


#9

» Hey guys,
»
» This new “cure” is not just cutting up the head, although it’s close…
»
» Basically they need to cut up your head so the wound is about 0.5
» centimeters wide and skin-deep. They also would need to rub a
» WNT-activating concotion on your head. The great part about this “cure” is
» it’s simplicity. Precise laboratory conditions aren’t really needed, as
» long as the above conditions are more or less met.

So, when the wounds heal, are the new hairs growing out of gnarly, disfigured tissue instead of smooth skin?

Also, notice that the new hairs are supposed to be unpigmented. They said you’ll have to DYE the hair to match the color of your own hair. The hairs have no pigment.


#10

Yeah, those conditions are the ones mentioned in the Nature article for mice. However, in an interview Cotsarelis seemed to think that a kind of milder dermabrasion (this is used for acne scars, etc in dermatology offices) on the scalp combined with a protein promoter would do the trick. So the scalp wouldn’t be disfigured, in the same way that a person’s face after dermabrasion is not disfigured (actually the skin ends up becoming smoother).

All the best,
BB

» » Hey guys,
» »
» » This new “cure” is not just cutting up the head, although it’s close…
» »
» » Basically they need to cut up your head so the wound is about 0.5
» » centimeters wide and skin-deep. They also would need to rub a
» » WNT-activating concotion on your head. The great part about this “cure”
» is
» » it’s simplicity. Precise laboratory conditions aren’t really needed, as
» » long as the above conditions are more or less met.
»
» So, when the wounds heal, are the new hairs growing out of gnarly,
» disfigured tissue instead of smooth skin?
»
» Also, notice that the new hairs are supposed to be unpigmented. They said
» you’ll have to DYE the hair to match the color of your own hair. The
» hairs have no pigment.


#11

The idea that this would be ready for the market in three years is a joke. Remember, the bar is much higher for cosmetic treatments than, say, a cure for cancer or something trivial like that.

This is an interesting development in the puzzle that is skin, hair, stem cells, and the development of new organs.

Personally, I think they should work on growing new kidneys and the like, though all of this work reinforces other work as well.

Hold onto your hairpieces, this is not a cure by any means.


#12

» The idea that this would be ready for the market in three years is a joke.
» Remember, the bar is much higher for cosmetic treatments than, say, a cure
» for cancer or something trivial like that.

The “bar” isn’t necessarily higher for cosmetic treatments than a cure for cancer at all. Not when you’re comparing two completely different types of treatments. The FDA doesn’t have one single pipeline through which all applications pass, with all applications competing for attention with all other applications. Cosmetic procedures are NOT competing directly with cancer cures.

Rather, they review applications for drugs, medical procedures, cell therapies, etc. by looking at their likely risks and comparing trial data on safety and efficacy, in the context of other available and potential products in the same field. Then they approve or disapprove each application on its own merits.

So, for instance, a cosmetic product like Restylane, which is used to fill in wrinkles on the face, would not be competing with a new chemotherapeutic agent for the time and attention of the FDA. They are both reviewed independently, by separate branches of the FDA. Their applications are separate, go forward separately, and each product or procedure is judged only on its own merits.

That’s why you see so many cosmetic products like Restylane get FDA approval and get to the market. If they were competing directly against cancer treatments, you’d see very few cosmetic products get FDA approval, and few would be on the market. But the FDA just doesn’t work that way.

Still, you’re right that the idea that Costarelis’ “method” will be ready for the market in 3 years is a joke, but definitely not for the reasons you mentioned. The real reasons are:

  1. It involves a drug which would have to be submitted as an investigational new drug (IND) application. This takes years.

  2. They haven’t even elaborated what the drug is yet; if you look closely, they’re only surmising that they’d have to have some kind of drug involved in the “wnt” pathway.

Also, people tend to get very excited whenever they see the words “stem cells”, especially in conjunction with organ or tissue regrowth, and in particular with something like a “baldness cure”. This leads to the incorrect, misplaced thinking that we can only have a cure for baldness if it directly involves stem cells, and that all other potential hair regeneration methods are nice to talk about, but will ultimately prove “false alarms” or “dead on arrival”, because they don’t have those magic words, “stem cells”, in their product description.

I think this is an example of “magical thinking”. People hear the words “stem cells” and they think “magic”… even though they don’t fully understand the properties and potential of stem cells.

The fact is that we CAN have a cell-based baldness cure that isn’t directly involved with stem cells. It’s called “Hair Multiplication”, or better yet, “Cell Therapy” or “Follicular Neogenesis” (incorrectly called “hair cloning” by some.) Stem cells might be peripherally involved at the microscopic level, but the great thing about HM is that it doesn’t involve isolating or culturing stem cells (very advanced work and very hard to do), and the researchers don’t have to know exactly how it works, down to every cellular, biochemical, and genetic pathway, to see that it works.

(A side note: in several articles they mention that at first, Dr. Cotsarelis’ team thought his new “method” involved stem cells, but on further investigation, they found that it does NOT directly involve stem cells!)

With HM, all you have to do is extract hair follicle cells (like dermal papilla cells), culture them, re-inject them into your scalp, and watch the hair grow.

No gasp-producing science fiction stories, no cloning hype, no “Dolly the Sheep”, no 10-year waits with the FDA for procedures that haven’t even been developed yet, and most important, NO STEM CELLS.