Millions of people around the world suffer from hair loss. There are many products for the treatment of this problem, but most of them are not very effective. Fortunately, a team of researchers have found a way to make hair grow naturally.
According to this study, led by William Lowry and Heather Christofk, the follicle stem cells can accelerate the growth of the hair. The follicle stem cells are inactive, dormant cells which are triggered with a new cycle. The baldness and hair loss appear because these cells are inactive for very long time. This study also shows that these cells don’t have the same metabolism as the other hair cells. In order to produce energy and to react to the environment the cells are broken down by the cellular metabolism. This process uses the enzymes which, in order to create metabolites, alter the nutrients. Pyruvate is a metabolite created when glucose is processed by the hair stem cells. This metabolite can be converted in to another metabolite called lactate or it can be used as energy.
According to Christofk, the goal of this research was to see if by reducing the pyruvate genetically in the mitochondria will improve the production of lactate which activates the hair stem cells and stimulates the growth of the hair. During the research the scientists used mice and obstructed the production of lactate which prevented the stem cells to activate. Increasing the production of lactate, activated the stem cells and boosted the cycle which resulted in new hair growth.
This research is groundbreaking research because nobody before this was aware that altering the lactate production will result in hair growth. This research can be a base for other drugs to develop that will be able to eliminate alopecia and baldness completely.
The scientists discovered 2 types of drugs that can increase the production of lactate genetically. The drug called RCGD423 activates the pathway JAK-Stat which stimulates the production of lactate and activates the stem cells. The other drug called UK5099 works by preventing the pyruvate to enter in the mitochondria which results in elevated production of lactate and accelerated growth of new hair.
According to Aimee Flores, this research allowed the scientists to learn new things about the stem cells. The results are very positive and promising and this discovery may help a lot of people in the future. This research will definitely influence the treatments of this condition in the future.
The inventors of the two drugs are Lowry and Christofk and they are both patented by the UCLA Technology Development Group. These drugs are still experimental and used in preclinical tests. They are still not tested on people.