Study: Fibroblast Growth Factor 9 (Fgf9) Critical for New Hair Follicles

George Cotsarelis, MD, chair of Dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the founders of the hair loss company Follica, has recently published a new study that showed that fibroblast growth factor 9 (Fgf9), a protein produced by a population of cells of the immune system in the skin, is critical for the formation of new hair follicles after disruption of the skin. The discovery could lead to a new approach to regenerate hair follicles in adult mammals which could be used, eventually, in humans.

“This discovery sheds light on a novel mechanism to regenerate hair follicles and opens an exciting new avenue to develop treatments for hair loss in humans,” said Dr. William Ju of Follica, Inc. “Follica has developed a technology platform that is uniquely suited to support clinical translation of these new findings. The Follica platform can be used to induce skin reepithelialization, which creates a “window of opportunity” during which the Fgf9 pathway could be modulated to potentiate hair neogenesis.”

Follica has conducted preclinical testing of proprietary device configurations for skin disruption in combination with a number of known and novel drugs. The company has run a series of human clinical trials, including a Phase IIa trial, which have demonstrated follicular neogenesis in humans for the first time. These trials pave the way for the development of a breakthrough combination of a device to produce targeted skin perturbation coupled with a well-studied drug compound.

“Creating new hair follicles is essential to treating hair loss, and is something that cannot be accomplished by invasive surgical procedures such as hair transplantation or by existing drug treatments that at best simply preserve existing hair,” said Dr. Bernat Olle, Follica Co-founder.

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