Future Treatments Update: Follica Discovers New Hair Loss Growth Factor and Grows Hair Follicle in Research Experiments

Mon 24 Jun 2013

hair stem cell generalEarlier this month, Follica, the biotechnology organization headed by University of Pennsylvania hair loss researcher Dr. George Cotsarelis, made two new important announcements. First, they announced the discovery of a new growth factor protein, known as “fibroblast growth factor 9” or “fgf9,” which may prove to be an important factor in the growth of new hair follicles. Second, Follica announced that they had successfully grown a new hair follicle on human scalp during their “scalp wounding” hair restoration studies.

For several years, Follica has researched the correlation between wound healing and new hair growth. The theory behind this idea comes from observations made during wound healing studies performed on animals. In a number of research projects, scientists were able to show an increase in hair growth during wound healing in animals (such as laboratory mice). These researchers concluded that the process of healing tissue and creating scars in these animals somehow overlapped with the creation of new hair follicles.

Follica noted these findings and decided to apply the theory to the human scalp. For a number of years, Follica completed these “wounding studies” by creating a wound (likely a small incision with a needle or scalpel) in the scalp, adding certain growth factors, and monitoring for signs of new hair growth during the healing process.

Earlier this month, Follica seemed to reach a breakthrough by creating new hair follicle growth with the scalp wounding method. However, at this point in time, it is still (partially) unknown which growth factors were added to create the new follicles and how much growth was actually achieved.

However, alongside the wounding studies update, Follica also announced the discovery of fgf9 – a growth factor protein which may be crucial in the creation of new hair follicles. During the wounding research, Follica noted high levels of fgf9 in the scalp (of the animal models) right before the creation of new hair follicles. When the team tested the levels of fgf9 in the human scalp wounding trials, they noted a very limited supply of the growth protein. From this, Follica inferred that not only is fgf9 crucial in the regrowth of new follicles during the wounding process, but it is also essentially absent from the human scalp. This means adding the fgf9 to the human scalp as it is healing may allow the body to grow new hair follicles.

It’s not clear, at this point in time, if Follica’s next step is adding the fgf9 growth factor to the wounding studies, but many hair loss sufferers believe this will be tested next. Regardless, it is exciting future hair loss treatment news! Please check back for future updates on Follica and their clinical trials.

Blake Bloxham – formerly “Future_HT_Doc”

Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning

Center, the Hair Loss Q&A Blog, and the Hair Restoration Forum

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One Comment so far:

  1. Lisa says:

    For a long time I have been suffering from hairloss and split ends. Hairloss occured seasonally, but my hair did not have enough time for regrowth. Therefore, I had to cut my hair again and again, and could not grow it as long as I wanted. Home made recipes, as well as specials shampoos could provide only temporary results. The thought that crossed my mind is that the issue cannot be tackled externally. So I started googling up pills and dietary supplements for hair loss conditions. There are at least 30 products sold on the Internet that are designated as hair loss products. Their price range is also very diverse: from very cheap to very expensive. The product that caught my attention was called Hairgain formula (90 capsules) by Military Grade Nutritionals. This product is the only nutraceutical which possesses prostaglandin D2 blocking properties. In about three weeks of using it, I noticed that my hair got back its natural shine and hair strands got thicker. I also started detecting less split ends. So, now I am on my way to the hair of my dreams!

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