There’s new hope for hair loss — for women, too

She calls her start Rapunzel, and for good reason: Angela Christiano is working on cultivating a full head of hair in the laboratory.

Christiano, a researcher at Columbia University, has a condition known as alopecia areata, leading to the sudden and substantial hair loss. And you are not satisfied with the treatments on the market :. There are only two approved drugs for hair loss, and both are over 20 years old

So she’s trying a radically new approach -. Turning patient’s own stem cells, which in theory can become any type of cell in the body, the hair, which could then be transplanted to cover bald areas

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work Christiano – she also has a second start, taking a totally different course – reflects a growing interest in the community of biotechnology in treating hair loss as a medical condition . The problem has traditionally been treated as an aesthetic issue, which has drawn less attention from serious illnesses like cancer. But scientists are now tackling the problem of several novel ways -. While experts warn that the failed attempts are inevitable and it will be a while before new products reach the market

“Hair is popular right now,” said Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “But it’s hard to grow hair.”

Various forms hair or loss in both men and women. The most devastating type immediately is alopecia areata – a rare condition in which hair follicles attacks the immune system, causing huge hair extensions falling mass. Another is androgenetic alopecia -. A genetic form of hair loss seen in men and women, often from a relatively early age

Then there is run-of-the-mill hair loss due to aging, which also affects both sexes. Half of all women experience some form of hair loss, especially after menopause, and can cause a great stir. “Women feel they should not lose their hair, and have a tremendous amount of emotional anxiety about it,” Piliang said.

The two drugs hair loss on the market are now Propecia and Rogaine or Minoxidil, which is only approved treatment for women , and now is available in packs of purple and teal marketed for female patients. (Propecia alters hormone levels so strongly recommended to pregnant women who did not even touch the pills.) As Americans spend $ 3.5 billion a year in goods hair loss – most of which do not work at all – there is a strong economic incentive to develop something new.

Therefore, what is in the works?

Samumed, a San Diego who shot to the stage this year with ambitious claims is inventing drugs to reverse aging, is working on baldness and diseases such as osteoarthritis and pancreatic cancer. The approach Samumed is directed to a channel known as molecular signaling pathway Wnt, which plays an important role in hair growth. The company says it does not interfere with hormones -. An important consideration in the development of hair growth products for women

concern The company has already conducted two Phase 2 trials for male pattern baldness. In a study of over 300 patients, participants who took a low dose of the drug showed an increase of almost 10 percent in hair count more than 135 days. Those who took placebos continued to lose hair. The study has not been published or peer reviewed; The company presented the results of this spring at a meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

So far, the drug has been tested only in men; test the drug in women is part of Samumed of “long term plan”, but the company has to be discussed first with the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Yusuf Yazici said, medical director of Samumed. “Androgenetic alopecia is a larger disease in men – more patients are affected by it.” Said

Rat Hair Growth ‘as if there were no tomorrow’

Christiano is taking a different approach -. Or, actually, two different approaches

Its implementation Vixen Pharmaceuticals worked to develop a drug for hair loss called inhibitors of JAK, to appease the activity of a class of enzymes called Janus kinase. Two JAK inhibitors have been approved by the FDA – not for baldness, but for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and a type of skin cancer called myelofibrosis. Both are used off-label for other autoimmune diseases -. Including hair loss

Vixen was acquired earlier this year by Aclaris Therapeutics based in Pennsylvania; the company intends to develop JAK inhibitors to treat hair loss. (With regard to that name: “Vixen,” of course, is the term for the fox – and as Christiano noted, the word “alopecia” means “mangy wolf” in Greek.)

in his second start, Rapunzel, Christiano aims to solve a big problem in hair transplant surgery: Requires removing hair from one part of the body to transplant it elsewhere. But there is only a finite amount of hair to be harvested from the body.

That’s why she wants to grow hair in the laboratory.

The challenge to date has been to get leather mother scalp cells to become real hair follicles – for years now, scientists could only get transformed into normal fibroblasts, which they are cells that create the generic connective tissue. Christiano laboratory has now been found that can grow real hair in a 3D scaffold culture medium sparged with a mixture of growth factors tissues.

“rat hair, that is – can grow hair rat as if there were no tomorrow,” Christiano said. “But we believe we can do it with human hair, too.”

hair restoration surgeon Dr. Joseph Greco think Christiano is headed in the right direction.

“The race to the moon is the hair multiplication,” Greco said. “In order to have an inexhaustible supply … looming in the next five to ten years.”

At the top of the transplant surgery standard hair, Greco offers a technique called “platelet rich plasma” or PRP, which is intended to stimulate the growth of follicles lazy hair. Seven out of 10 of their customers are women hair loss.

equipment Greco draws blood from a patient, is rotated in a centrifuge to remove plasma, isolated growth factors from platelets, adding nutrients then reinjected the mixture on the scalp of patients. It costs about $ 1,600 for the first treatment, then slightly less for visits in -. Recommended every six months to a year

Greco participated in a pilot study 2014 of 64 women found PRP showed promise in treating hair loss androgenetic but the procedure has not been formally tested in a randomized clinical trial.

Without waiting for a miracle cure

For all the excitement about new approaches, scientists also raised a note of caution. They remember the excitement over a decade ago, when a new gene that controls what is called the track “sonic hedgehog” was discovered – and showed promise in treating hair loss. New businesses began to emerge around the hedgehog approach – until it reached a major drawback:

“They found that the route of ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ was also involved in cancer skin – so that kind of enthusiasm dampened much of the use of drugs for hair growth, “Christiano said.

Lauren Engle, a mother of two Dallas is not waiting around for a miraculous cure. When she was pregnant with her first child, Engle “lost a ton of hair,” he said. She tried Rogaine and spironolactone which is used without official authorization for hair loss, but left the drug because of its potential harm during their reproductive years.

Engle writes a blog, “Corner of Hope and Mane,” and sends a regular newsletter to about 3,500 women, which provides advice on how to “wear their hair” and do Addressing stigma and depression associated with women’s hair loss.

“It is devastating to a lot of people,” Engle said. “The hair can be the jewel in the crown of the appearance of women -. From her feminine identity”

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