MEDICALLY REVIEWED

Breakthrough Discovery: Scientists Unveil Cure for Baldness Found in Hairy Moles

A protein found in hairy moles, known as osteopontin, could hold the answer to reversing hair loss. 

Anticipation surrounds the upcoming clinical trials for this new treatment, which have the potential to redefine the future of hair regrowth treatments.

Hairy Moles: An Unlikely Source of Hair Growth

Research conducted by a team led by Professor Maksim Plikus at the University of California, Irvine, has unveiled a new molecular mechanism that holds the potential to stimulate hair growth. Remarkably, the team’s findings, published in the journal Nature, shed light on the crucial role of osteopontin, a signalling molecule generated by senescent pigment cells, in this process.

Furthermore, this molecule, previously unrelated to hair growth, emerges as a key player in activating hair follicles within these pigmented skin moles or nevi, leading to robust hair growth. The study elucidates the intricate relationship between osteopontin and its corresponding receptor molecule, CD44, unveiling their essential roles.

Significantly, senescent pigment cells produce abundant osteopontin, which interacts with CD44 receptors present in hair stem cells. This interaction serves as a trigger, awakening the dormant stem cells and facilitating the growth of long and thick hair strands.

To validate these findings, additional experiments were conducted using mouse models with deficient osteopontin or CD44 genes. The results demonstrated significantly slower hair growth, confirming the pivotal role played by these two molecules in the stimulation of hair growth. Notably, human hairy skin nevi samples were also utilised to validate these findings.

In summary, this groundbreaking research highlights the remarkable potential of osteopontin and CD44 in promoting hair growth. This provides valuable insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying this process.

A Promise for the Future of Baldness Cure

Harnessing the potential of osteopontin could revolutionise the hair loss treatment industry. According to Plikus, injecting osteopontin around dormant hair follicles could reactivate the underlying stem cells, offering the possibility of regrowing bald spots that commonly develop with age.

Moreover, the method not only holds the potential for hair regrowth. It also promises to preserve the natural colour and texture of the hair, given that these traits are inherently encoded within the follicle itself.

This groundbreaking research presents a fresh perspective on the interplay between senescent cells and a tissue’s own stem cells. It highlights the beneficial effects senescent cells can have on hair follicle stem cells. As the team delves deeper into the study of molecules present in hairy skin nevi, it is likely that they will uncover additional factors that activate hair growth.

The significance of this discovery lies in its potential to pave the way for novel therapies targeting hair loss and other regenerative disorders. This is akin to procedures like Botox. The innovative approach of injecting osteopontin into the scalp to revive dormant hair follicles has already shown promising results in initial trials conducted on mice.

Overall, with the application of appropriate transition words, the research findings indicate a promising future for hair regrowth treatments. It holds immense potential for advancing the field of regenerative medicine.

The Road Ahead: Clinical Trials

Amplifica, a biopharmaceutical company based in California, is in the process of developing an innovative treatment for androgenic alopecia. The company’s unique approach to hair regrowth revolves around the discovery of naturally occurring signalling molecules. 

One of Amplifica’s key figures in this ground-breaking research is Dr. Max Plikus, the company’s Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Plikus, an established expert in hair follicle biology, holds a PhD in Pathology from the University of Southern California (USC).

Amplifica’s proposed treatment is based on a compound known as AMP-203, an osteopontin-based compound currently under pre-clinical development.

Inspired by research published in Nature, scientists have uncovered the potential of osteopontin as a treatment for hair loss. The study revealed that osteopontin, a signalling molecule released by senescent melanocytes in moles, actively stimulates hair follicle stem cells, resulting in substantial hair growth. This groundbreaking discovery has enhanced our understanding of the osteopontin/CD44 pathway, offering a novel molecular pathway to stimulate hair regrowth.

Towards a New Era of Hair Regrowth Treatments

Although the path to a universally effective hair loss cure has been arduous, this discovery brings hope. The research by Plikus and his team could signal a new era in hair regrowth treatments. With the upcoming clinical trials, we might be on the brink of a major breakthrough in treating age-related hair loss.

References

  1. UC Irvine-led researchers reveal new molecular mechanism for stimulating hair growth. (2023, June 21). UCI News. https://news.uci.edu/2023/06/21/uc-irvine-led-researchers-reveal-new-molecular-mechanism-for-stimulating-hair-growth/
  2. Wang, X., Ramos, R., Phan, A. Q., Yamaga, K., Flesher, J. L., Jiang, S., Oh, J. W., Jin, S., Jahid, S., Kuan, C. H., Nguyen, T. K., Liang, H. Y., Shettigar, N. U., Hou, R., Tran, K. H., Nguyen, A., Vu, K. N., Phung, J. L., Ingal, J. P., . . . Plikus, M. V. (2023, June 21). Signalling by senescent melanocytes hyperactivates hair growth – Nature. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06172-8
  3. Richardson, C. (2023, January 27). Amplifica: Novel Therapeutics for Hair Regrowth. Amplifica. https://amplificabio.com/
  4. Osteopontin Potently Stimulates Hair Follicle Stem Cells for Robust Hair Growth – Practical Dermatology. (n.d.). Practical Dermatology. https://practicaldermatology.com/news/osteopontin-potently-stimulates-hair-follicle-stem-cells-for-robust-hair-growth

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