Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania may have the answer to male-pattern baldness and other types of hair loss.
Animal trials with adult mice grew new hair follicles in skin healing from wounds. George Cotsarelis, MD, associate professor of dermatology, and colleagues found that the mice’s wound-healing process involved the release of proteins called wnts. Wnts made mature skin cells that don’t normally make hair during wound healing behave like embryonic skin cells, giving rise to new hair follicles. The study did not involve any tests on people.
The opportunity for mammals to generate new hair follicles via wnt proteins might inspire new treatments for hair loss, wounds, and other degenerative skin disorders.
Cotsarelis is involved with Follica Inc., a privately held start-up company that has licensed the patent on the process from the University of Pennsylvania. He said it probably would be more than 5 years before a treatment was possible.
Illustration: MicroSoft clipart.
CBS News (05/16/07)
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Medical News Today (05/17/07)
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