The studies show that JAK inhibitors and other small molecules are capable of reawakening dormant hair follicles and stem cell therapies that can develop new follicles.
The first study was led by Angela Christiano, who’s a professor of Dermatology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. The researchers discovered some previously unknown cells that ensure that mouse hair follicles don’t leave a resting state. If the activities of these cells are inhibited, dormant follicles can be reawakened.
In the second research, the team of Christiano found a method for growing human hair in a dish. This method could make more men and women start exploring the idea of hair restoration surgery. It could also enhance the method that pharmaceutical companies consider when looking for new hair-growth medications.
Cells that put follicles in a resting state
In pattern baldness, lots of hair follicles are still in existence. However, they are dormant. The focus of researchers on getting drugs that function effectively in the same pathways as minoxidil and finasteride has affected their quest to find new drugs that can reawaken follicles and inhibit hair growth. Notably, minoxidil and finasteride are the only two medications that can be used by men suffering from male pattern baldness.
The researchers had previously found a new pathway, known as JAK-STAT, which is active in the stem cells of resting hair follicles and makes them remain in a state of dormancy. Christiano and other researchers in his team showed that JAK inhibitors used on mouse skin are good for reawakening resting follicles in mice.
Their second study was targeted at knowing more about the natural processes of making sure that the follicles remain dormant. Therefore, the researchers searched for factors that managed the activity of the JAK pathway in the hair follicle.
Trichophages and its effects on hair loss
During the search, the Colombian researchers found a formerly unknown immune-related cell type that is capable of creating a substance called Oncostatin M. This substance makes sure that the follicle doesn’t leave a dormant state. One of the authors of the study, Etienne Wang, Ph.D., notes “Rare subsets of immune cells were previously difficult to identify in a whole skin, but this work was facilitated by our ability to sequence individual cells and pinpoint the ones making Oncostatin M.”
There are some resemblances between these cells and macrophages, which are regarded as the immune system’s scavenger cells. The researchers discovered that these cells are close to resting hair follicles.
These cells have been named trichophages. It should be noted that this name is taken from tricho, which is a Greek word for hair.
Besides, the hair cycle could be turned on when the trichophages are being targeted. By utilizing antibodies and small molecular inhibitors for inhibiting Csf1R, which is a receptor that is found on the trichophages, the flow of Oncostatin M could be blocked so that the hair cycle can start once again.
How to grow new hair follicles
The second study involved the creation of a means of growing human hair in a dish. This method could lead to hair restoration surgery for an increased number of individuals including women. This new development could also enhance the method through which pharmaceutical companies find new hair growth medications.
It is worthwhile to note that this study brings a novel idea of growing human hair follicles in a dish without using any implantation in the skin.
Notably, researchers have been generating new rat or mouse hairs by culturing cells that were extracted from the end of existing follicles.
To find a way around human hair cells’ resistance, the Colombian researchers have been looking for ways to build conditions that look like the 3D environment that is the habitat of human hair cells. Although they failed at the beginning, they are making progress now as they have found a way to grow new human hair follicles in a dish in a lab.
In a nutshell, these new approaches can bring a significant change to the process of dealing with hair loss in both men and women. While studies are still going on, you can cope with your hair loss by picking the right products at https://www.hairbro.com/ to improve your overall look.