Tag Archives: fibroblast growth factor 9

A Quick Way to Cure Hair Loss: Growth Factor Fgf9

In 2013 there have been many discussions in the scientific community regarding the treatment of baldness. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania believe that they have found a method that allows for the regeneration of hair follicles using growth factor that will harness the power usually used to repair skin that has been damaged to create skin that is capable of growing hair in areas that were previously bald. This growth factor, known as fgf9 has been found to double the number of hair follicles present in areas of skin on mice when it is expressed in the cells. It is believed that these effects could be mimicked on human skin to help to eliminate baldness.

How Fgf9 and Growth Factor Works

Fgf9 is expressed in specialized T-cells that are used by the immune system to repair damage when the skin is injured. Humans have very low amounts of T-cells that are expressed naturally which can cause areas of skin that have been damaged to heal without hair follicles. It is believed that applying this growth factor to human skin could improve the presence of hairs to reverse the effects of baldness. Over time, these treatments could grow hair anywhere a person wanted it, on chests, the tops of head or other areas. Because these growth factors are naturally present in the body, this treatment would, at least in theory, not cause any negative side effects for those that would undergo this treatment.

The key to this expression is that these cells are part of the immune system and appear to help address skin that has been damaged. This means that a slight amount of damage would need to befall the skin cells that a person would like to start growing hair. Many processes including chemical peels that are already used as part of a plastic surgery regimen could be used to create the reaction necessary to get these cells to react as desired. A treatment could then be applied that would present the body with further doses of fgf9 to increase the reaction of the body that would case this area to start developing hair follicles.

Issues that Must be Addressed with Growth Factor and Fgf9

Before full treatments of growth factor can be used to eliminate male pattern baldness, additional testing on humans must be performed to ensure that this treatment does not cause side effects that are not currently anticipated. This would include any side effects for topical treatments that would be necessary to stimulate the presence of fgf9 in the desired cells. As research progresses, more information about the likelihood of these concerns and how to properly manage them will become more readily available.

Because cells would need to be damaged to ensure that new follicles will be developed in the areas where the patient would like increased hair growth, it will be necessary to find a way to trigger this reaction without damaging existing, healthy follicles that are present in the area where the treatment will be applied. Ongoing research will better determine how to avoid these problems.

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Researchers: Fibroblast Growth Factor 9 (Fgf9) Key to Growing New Hair Follicles

wash hair

In early June 2013, researchers at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania announced that they’ve been able to regenerate hair follicles in adult mammals and that the procedure could eventually be used to grow new hair in humans. In a new paper published online in Nature Medicine, the researchers describe in detail the role that fibroblast growth factor 9 (Fgf9), a protein produced by the skin’s immune system, in the formation of new hair follicles.

The paper’s chief author is Dr. George Cotsarelis, MD, the chairman for the Dermatology Department at the Perelman School of Medicine and a co-founder of Follica, a company dedicated to developing new hair loss treatments based on stem cell growth factors.

A number of companies are now marketing hair growth serums based on Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (HFCM), which contain dozens of specialized proteins, growth factors and cytokines believed to play a crucial role in regenerating dormant hair follicles. One of companies, Cygenx, markets a product called RegenRXx Hair Serum 90 that contains more than a dozen growth factors, including Epidermal growth factor (EGF), Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), Fibroblast growth factor type 5 (FGF5), Transforming growth factor Beta (TGF-B) and Platelet-derived Growth Factor(PDGF)

Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (HFCM) is a nutrient rich solution composed of growth factors, cytokines, soluble collagen, antioxidants and matrix proteins that are often referred to as “signaling” molecules that are derived from a complex invitro laboratory tissue bioengineering process. All human cells grow, heal and divide by interaction with an array of these growth factors and matrix proteins which maintain cellular and tissue homeostasis.

Dr. Cotsarelis’s research shows that Fgf9 is present in greater quantities in the top layers of skin right before new hair follicles are created. When the researchers artificially reduced the amount of Fgf9, the hair follicles did not develop. The research team believes that a combination of deliberate “wounding” in the scalp — perhaps as minor as a skin prick — combined with the application of the right comnbination of growth factors, such as Fgf9, could lead to the rapid formation of new hair follicles on balding scalps.

“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.”

Translated into English, Dr. Ju appears to be saying that Follica hopes this new research will lead to new hair. Follica has been developing new growth factor treatments but does not yet have a product on the market. Hair loss sufferers have been frustrated by the lack of progress so far. Another company, Histogen, is also developing a new hair loss treatment. The problem with growth factors is scalp penetration. One solution, which the San Diego company Histogen is working on, is to develop a surgical procedure to inject growth factors beneath the skin and more directly into the scalp. The problem with this approach is that it requires FDA approval, will be expensive and is not available right now. In 2012, the company’s CEO presented the preliminary results of the company’s double-blind Phase I/II clinical trial of its Hair Stimulating Complex (HSC) at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) annual meeting in the Bahamas. The title of the paper was, “Scalp Injection of Active Embryonic-like Cell-secreted Proteins and Growth Factors.” The company reported a very favorable 86% response rate from patients tested and an increase in total hair count was substantially above an earlier trial.

For years, researchers have theorized that hair loss is caused by a genetic hyper-sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative from the male sex hormone testosterone. The theory has been that hair follicles gradually shrink and then die when exposed to large amounts of DHT. As a result, the theory goes, to grow hair faster you simply have to limit the amount of DHT on the scalp. There are a number of highly effective anti-DHT shampoos and conditioners on the market now. For example, DS Laboratories Revita Shampoo and Revita.COR conditioner are popular with women who want to grow hair faster and with men who want to regrow lost hair.

The most exciting development in recent years to grow hair, however, has been the discovery that DHT does not cause hair follicles to die, a previously thought, but only to go asleep. In a sense, therefore, hair follicles hibernate. Scientists have discovered a number of special proteins, known as growth factors, that are like chemical alarm clocks and wake dormant hair follicles back up. These growth factors have been proven to stimulate new hair growth and to grow hair faster. One of the earliest and most popular of these new growth factor serums, made from adult stem cells, is Cygenx’s RegenRXx Growth Factor Serum 90. By flooding hair follicles with these specialized chemical wake-up messages, growth factor serums stimulate the follicles to grow hair — to grow hair faster than normal and to regrow hair where none was growing before.

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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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