[quote]If wounding worked then Cotseralis would have brought it to market by now. He’s tried so many combinations involving wounding and apparently none of them are satisfactory. It’s time to move on to growth factors and/or stem cells.
[postedby]Originally Posted by cal[/postedby]
Wounding does work. It has worked multiple times in the past. It’s only a matter of time before it accidentally works again.
We may never be able to figure out exactly how it’s happening and us it to our advantage. But that does not invalidate the principle. It does work under certain circumstances. It works no matter how misleading, useless, or plain old frustrating it might be to the MPB research world. It works no matter who it might cause to look stupid in the process. It still works.[/quote]
Wounding does work, but as you said it’s all been by accident so far. No one knows exactly what conditions are required for wounding to precipitate new hair growth. Most likely it is somehow releasing chemicals that activate the dormant HF stem cells (which exist even in bald and balding people) and turns them into progenitor cells or Transit Amplifying Cells (TACs). But no one knows how or what chemical signals are generated, although there are suggestions that it has something to do with activating the Sonic the Hedgehog gene.
To me, it would be much more efficient if we could just: (1) isolate those chemicals, synthesize them, and inject or apply them to the scalp; or (2) even better, culture activated stem cells or TAC cells and inject them.
Wounding works under unspecified ideal conditions, but it is a sub-optimal solution. It’s just a small hint of what we might really have if more research is done into the role of stem cells in this phenomenon.
Wounding is a conscious “workaround” pursued by scientists because the real avenue to generate new follicles – using stem cells and their derivatives – is mostly off-limits due to regulatory issues. There is an almost blanket prohibition on this type of research, especially for cosmetic procedures like hair loss, and for non-homologous uses of stem cells, unless you can get past difficult and costly regulatory hurdles. So researchers like Cotsarelis are forced to pursue lines of research that were not prohibited. Hence the interest in wounding.
I don’t think we should put all our eggs into the basket of a wounding “cure”, but just use the wounding phenomenon as something to study to gain insight into what really generates new hair.
I think we have a better chance at a cure by either pushing for deregulation of stem cell research in the US, or going elsewhere for stem cell therapy and encouraging researchers in stem cell “friendly” jurisdictions to continue to pursue and perfect their work.