Let’s talk about what’s happening of the front of hair loss research in 2013 and what’s coming up. There has been much research and new developments with regards to thinning hair treatments based on the amount of research that has been conducted over these last few years and now things are starting to look up.
Hair Loss Research 2013
Now that we are into the 2nd decade of the 21st Century medical science is starting to deliver on the promises predicted from years ago with regards to hair loss. Major advances across a range of serious disorders occur on a fairly regular basis. The holy grail for life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s can be articulated in one word “cure”. Eventually, no doubt, this will happen. Not this year, and probably not in the next several years. But almost certainly, it will happen.
Likewise, in the non-lethal disease realm, progress is occurring, including in our lab and elsewhere where the research focus is hair growth and hair loss. For us, a key definition of the task at hand has been the evolution of our appreciation for the variegated underlying factors which influence AGA (androgenetic alopecia). In other words, we have been at the forefront in developing a “cocktail mix” approach to treatment by addressing inflammation, steroid hormone metabolic events, etc., simultaneously. Our view is that it is less than optimal to treat a complex-trait disorder like a monogenic disease. This then constitutes an important feature of the rationale we will continue to apply to R&D in 2013 and beyond.
In basic science labs elsewhere, important work is ongoing to establish the genetic basis of AGA. Here, the clinical relevance comes down to designing gene therapies which may eventually be able to stimulate the quiescent cellular machinery to once again begin producing viable hair. Another exciting area of R&D is stem cell therapy. In this model, the idea is to identify the key cellular precursors to hair follicle morphogenesis and grow these structures in vitro. Eventually, the goal would be to harvest a small number of stem cells, grow them out into a “forest” of hair-producing follicles and then repopulate them into the bald scalp.
Many steps stand between where we are today and making this technology work reliably and safely. However, as with gene therapy, it is very likely that in the coming years, breakthroughs in this field will happen. We are living in an exciting era. It is probable that those who are children today will, in their adulthood, enjoy the opportunity to permanently keep at bay most of the ailments we suffer with now. May we all live to see this dream come true…