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Reversing Hair Loss

The reality of reversing hair loss has become a step closer for the human head! Research carried out by Dr Mayumi Ito has helped to regrow hair in skin that previously was unable to grow any. Work carried out on scar tissue in mice has helped to regrow hair that couldn’t previously grow. This has been done by using knowledge already gained about the iconic Sonic HedgeHog Protein Pathway. You can read the full paper in Nature by clicking here.

In this blog we aim to summarise the key findings and what the research means to hair loss sufferers worldwide.

Background to the research

The Sonic HedgeHog Protein Pathway is a method through which cells can pass messages to each other. One of the messages it signals is to promote hair growth in a developing fetus. Scientists were then able to show that after injecting the Sonic HedgeHog Protein into a mouse’s bald patches, the mouce’s resting hair follicles started to grow hair again (2).

The study generated a lot of optimism around a hair loss cure coming sooner rather than later. However, with concerns around treatment potentially causing some skin cancers any more research was put on halt (3).

So what is the latest news?

Dr Ito and her team from the NYU School of Medicine, have just released a paper based on some very interesting research around the Sonic HedgeHog Protein. They tested the Sonic HedgeHog Protein on skin that could not grow hair after the hair follicles and skin tissue had been damaged. By using the protein they were able to improve wound healing but also spark renewed hair follicle and hair shaft growth- thereby reversing hair loss! And importantly, they were also able to do this without increasing the risk of skin cancers too.

Our results show that stimulating fibroblasts through the Sonic Hedgehog Pathway can trigger hair growth not previously seen in wound healing. Dr Mayumi Ito

With 50% of men suffering from hair loss by 50, the potential for treatments to reverse hair loss in areas that are completely bald is good news.  The research sheds more light on why hair doesn’t grow in ageing skin. It also gives us more information on why men and women bald in the first place. By understanding how we can reverse hair loss, we gain more knowledge on what causes it in the first place.

For those who have suffered injuries or burns this is also interesting research. The skin after suffering trauma or a burns, tends not to regrow hair. This happens because the hair follicles are damaged. Now the Sonic HedgeHog Protein can regrow hair in similarly damaged skin, this can be used in future to help regrow hair in skin that has previously been burnt or scarred.

So what’s the future?

Right now the research still needs to be developed. It offers new information on how balding happens and what we can do to reverse hair loss. Currently, the only method of reversing hair loss in areas that are completely bald is a hair transplant. If you wanted to find out more about which treatments you would benefit most from, please don’t hesitate to contact our Surgeons today- click here.










(9) Photo Credit: Jared Belson

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