WIRED magazine, which publishes articles on emerging technologies, discussed the future of hair loss in an article published on 6th September 2022. The article was inspired by a recent publication that discovered a new signalling molecule produced by dermal papilla cells within hair follicles that enhances hair growth.
Dermal papilla cells are found at the base of hair follicles and are the drivers of hair growth. The discovery by Maksim Plikus and his team furthers our understanding of molecular mechanisms underpinning the regenerative capabilities of dermal papilla cells. The team hope to someday be able to inject the newly discovered molecule multiple times a year in order to stimulate and maintain hair growth. HairClone’s approach differs in that it aims to replace the cells that naturally make this regenerative molecule to give longer-lasting results.
Currently, approved treatments for hair loss are limited and represent a ‘therapeutic black hole’ as Dermatology Professor, Luis Garza, describes in the article. Those treatments that are available can have undesirable side-effects and are largely targeted towards men. Hair transplantation can dramatically improve a person’s image; however, they spread out existing follicles and do not increase the number of thick hairs. This is where a cell therapy can come in.
HairClone’s cell therapy aims to replace dermal papilla cells in hairs that are susceptible to losing these cells. The idea is to restore the molecular instructions within these hair follicles and kick-start their ability to create thicker hair. Although not applicable to all types of balding, this treatment approach could be a potential game-changer for both men and women suffering from androgenetic alopecia, known widely as age-related or patterned hair loss.
As Prof. Garza explained in the article, hair is a fundamental aspect of identity and sense of self and losing it can therefore be life changing for many.