- Jan 17, 2005
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthnews.php?newsid=71178US scientists have found a way to make the skin of laboratory mice gives rise to new fully working hair follicles complete with new hair by using a protein that stimulates follicle generating genes in skin cells under wound conditions. They hope this discovery may one day lead to treatments for baldness and abnormal hair growth.
The study is published in the journal Nature.
Dr George Cotsarelis and colleagues from the Department of Dermatology, Kligman Laboratories, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in Philadelphia, US, found that when skin is wounded, the cells of the epidermis take on the properties of stem cells and generate new hair follicles that are capable of growing new shafts of hair.
So far the results have only been achieved in mice, but the hope is the same is true of human skin.
The company Follica, which Dr Cotsarelis helped to set up and in which he has a stake, hopes to develop and market a human follicle regrowth treatment based on a patent currently being filed by the university.
The researchers envisage a commercial application similar to that used to treat teenage acne. A dermabrasion gel that gently damages the skin and kicks off the wounding process, together with a topical cream to switch on the follicle generating genes.