Tag Archives: Growth Factors

Wound healing and hair cloning

Hair loss or Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is characterized by the miniaturization of the hair follicles in susceptible individuals and occurs in a defined pattern on the scalp.

Hair loss in aging men and women is characterized by these “damaged hair follicles.” Normal hair growth depends on a cycle in which periodic regeneration of the underlying hair follicle occurs through a process directed by stem cells.

Within the follicle, normal stem cell function is essential for hair follicle regrowth. What has been discovered in just the past few years, through studies of wound healing in burn victims and other patients, is that it is possible to actually grow new hair follicles and, as a result, new hair. The formation of new follicles and hair growth was shown to be associated with a cascade of cellular and biochemical events during the wound healing process.

By studying wound healing at the cellular and molecular levels, the skin was observed to have the ability to revert to a more primitive or “embryonic” state as progenitor cells “migrate” to the wounded area, restoring the regenerative capacity of the skin not previously thought to occur in adults.

The regenerative response includes new hair follicle formation, allowing new hair to grow at the restored site.

A major part of the wound healing cascade is the release of growth factors and cytokines from stem cells into the layers of the scalp at the site of the wound. These growth factors and cytokines function like a light switch, turning on lost or decreased function of the hair follicle.

Although dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is only one factor, and a minor one, in causing the unhealthy minaturization of the follicle in male pattern baldness process, it has received much attention. Several products are now on the market that attempt to restore hair growth based on interacting with the DHT pathway. These DHT specific products have demonstrated limited efficacy in growing new hair yet can show debilitating side-effects, including sexual dysfunction.

Based on the similar etiologies of male pattern baldness through DHT, it was thought that naturally occurring growth factors may also benefit the treatment of hair loss through the DHT pathway, but without the side-effects seen with other products. More importantly, the direct effects of topically applied cytokines and growth factors to the hair follicle restores the normal physiology and anatomy of the hair follicle and is the critical factor in restoring hair growth.

Below is the first example of a placebo-controlled, double-blind study undertaken to examine the benefit of these naturally occurring growth factors in the treatment of hair loss.

Objectives: The goal of this study was to test naturally occurring growth factors in the treatment of AGA.

Subjects included in this study were males between the ages of 25 and 65 years of age, in good health, with mild to moderate AGA.

Results: The results of this study showed a highly positive response to treatment. The blinded investigative staff assessment report showed that over 90% of study subjects dosed with the active study formulation were rated as improved at the final visit. Patient self-assessment demonstrated that 94% of the patients saw significant improvement in hair growth and prevention of hair loss.

Conclusions: This study establishes the effectiveness of naturally occurring growth factors for the first time in the treatment of hair loss. Growth factor technology has been used to generate completely new hair follicles for the first time in normal adult males. The researchers were able to induce the regenerative response, including new hair follicle formation, by applying a combination of factors to the scalp. This work showed that the application of these growth factors resulted in skin triggered molecular pathways, allowing a new topical treatment option for re-growing hair.

Caution: the application of any artificially created or synthesized signaling molecule is discouraged for two reasons; they lack potency and they may cause unnecessary secondary side effects. A good rule of thumb is to stay as natural as possible.

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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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