Dr. Christiano has been working on that hairless gene thing for a long, long time. It first started when she developed a temporary autoimmune condition where she lost a lot of her hair, which then spontaneously grew back. That’s what prompted her to start studying hair science.
She’s talking about some kind of potential gene therapy topical here, which I think is very far away. If something like this is ever discovered, it will take a very long time to get through the FDA, since it involves changing and manipulating human genes. If you think it takes a long time for FDA to approve a drug or a medical device, just imagine how long it would take for them to approve gene therapy for a cosmetic purpose. Of course, it’s possible that if such a thing were discovered, it would reach the market earlier in foreign countries with fewer regulations. But something like this hasn’t even been discovered yet, and we may not even be close.
Anyway, Dr. Christiano has moved on way past that stuff. I don’t know if she’s still working on it. What she is doing is working on spheroid cultures of DP cells, and getting DP cells to spontaneously express more of the genes for trichogenicity (induction of hair growth). This is not the same thing as gene therapy, but there are some similarities, and there’s a point where changing gene expression in cell cultures becomes about equivalent to gene therapy.
But you’re right, that’s a very old article about Dr. Christiano. The gene she’s talking about (the “hairless” allele found in that Pakistani family) also doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with MPB. It might be indirectly connected somehow (maybe some common pathways are involved), but it’s not necessarily so.
Frankly I would be much more interested in her 2013 spheroid culture work, if I were you.