Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Hair Loss Research: Bethesda, Maryland

Several weeks ago, someone on the BTT hair loss forums posted about two important hair loss research related patents filed by inventors from the Bethesda, Maryland based Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (a government/military funded entity) in the USA.

The patents pertain to hair follicle neogenesis (regeneration of tissue) via skin substitutes made entirely from cultured human cells. The first was filed in 2011, and the second updated one was filed in 2014.  The three inventors for both patents are listed in the following order (which does not necessarily imply order of importance of contribution):

  1. Rajesh Thangapazham
  2. Thomas Darling
  3. Shaowei Li

All three of these researchers are PhD holders, and you can see their names on the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Dermatology Department Faculty Section (FYI — this is the first time in my life that I have used a domain name ending in .mil).  Of these three, only Dr. Rajesh Thangapazham seems to have a presence on Linkedin, and his work history related to hair and skin regeneration related research is quite impressive.  His recent achievement per their website is also very encouraging and suggests that he might be the lead inventor:

“Rajesh Thangapazham, Ph.D., a Research Assistant Professor in the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology, USU, was recently selected as a recipient of a 2015 Dermatology Foundation Research Award. Thangapazham will receive the Foundation’s Women’s Health Career Development Award for his project, “Genes Regulating Hair Follicle Neogenesis, Growth, and Development.” Thangapazham and colleagues have shown de novo hair follicle neogenesis in skin substitutes made entirely with cultured human cells. In his proposed work, Thangapazham will investigate molecules hypothesized to enhance the induction of human hair follicles to restore skin function and appearance. This major advance in skin regeneration is predicted to improve skin stability, healing and ultimately lead to a viable clinical strategy for restoring hair.”

These three doctors (along with others that included Dr. George Cotsarelis) published an important paper related to this work in 2014.  This paper was titled “Dissociated human dermal papilla cells induce hair follicle neogenesis in grafted dermal-epidermal composites.

It is quite amazing that myself and virtually all other hair loss forum members  missed looking into work being done by the US government and military with regards to hair and skin generation research.  In spite of articles such as this one from last year!  Over the decades, the US military and the US Department of Defense have been responsible for numerous technological breakthroughs. Almost always, a lot of their research is shrouded in secrecy for years.  Sometimes, their initial discoveries take decades before moving from in-house use to public use  (e.g., the Internet).

Besides housing the above mentioned Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences,  Bethesda is also home to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the National Institute of Health and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine.  Moreover, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine is in nearby  Fort Detrick.

When it comes to a hair loss cure, will largely unheralded Bethesda beat out places such as New York, San Diego and Tokyo that are currently heavily over-represented in the world map of key hair loss research centers?

Finally, it seems like North Carolina based Wake Forest University and Dr. Anthony Atala are significantly involved with the US army’s research wing concerning regenerative medicine, and I have updated by recent post on hair loss research at Wake Forest University.  At the moment, I am thinking that the new topical hair loss treatment study at Wake Forest is related to an in-house developed product or to a product developed at one of the military research centers in Bethesda (but not anything related to the hair follicle neogenesis invention discussed in this post).

32 thoughts on “Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Hair Loss Research: Bethesda, Maryland”

  1. Admin, thanks for all your great work and doing all the grunt work for us. I love visiting your blog and wish you hired someone and had a post daily:-)

  2. I use to like this blog much more . it used to talk about ideas , trial being done and the concept behind those trial (ie, receptors , cells and pathways ..) . now it is all useless junk (world map , names for doctors who contribute to a paper that we know nothing about and yielded up no cure ). the only reason Im still checking this site is that it is faster to find out about a break through here than going throw forums. Don’t get me wrong admin . I appreciate the big efforts but your articles used to be more interesting

  3. All games. Hair transplant industry will block any treatment that will potentially put them out business, aka histogen, replicel, etc only thing that might come to market is setiprant with bimatoprost since they will work like propecia and rogaine combo. More regrowth and stability of baldness progression but not enough regrowth to give you more than a transplant

  4. In my honest opinion I believe they already have a treatment for hair loss that cures it but it will never be released since it take away billions of dollars being spent on current treatments annually

  5. FYI – the order of the inventors on a patent application or issued patent does indicate which of the inventors is the primary inventor. The first named inventor is always the primary inventor.

    1. Thanks Jonnie, but do you have any reliable source? I googled for that info and it seemed like most of the results suggested the order is irrelevant. For journal articles, the order does matter (and you usually see the number 1 next to the first author’s name in the case of multiple authors).

      1. The USPTO does not have any particular rules governing the ordering of joint inventors. Such rules would provide grounds to invalidate a patent for listing the inventors in the wrong order, which would lead to a silly result. However, the Manual of Patent Examinating Procedure (MPEP) 602.01(c)(II) outlines how to change the ordering of inventors. The reason for facilitating a change to the ordering of the inventors is because the ordering matters, especially to the patentee and/or the inventors themselves. All of the inventors share equally in inventorship and ownership of the patent (if the inventors are also the assignees). The patentee or applicant (e.g., the company or organization seeking the patent) controls the ordering of the inventors–with the primary inventor (also known as first named inventor) being listed first. Not that it matters, but I’m a patent attorney who has drafted hundreds of patent applications–each one has listed the primary inventor first.

  6. @mjones: For me that conspiration theory about blocking this field by HT doctors is just ridiculous. More treatments = less risk with HT = more candidates for HT. Of course, I don’t talk about ultimate cure (from NW7 to NW0), but new cell therapies and drugs will increase the number of people who can benefit from HT. Actually, high norwoods or people with very agressive hair loss can’t do that (or they can but with the poison called finasteride).

  7. I didagree, if histogen enters the market, everyone with a Norwood 2-4 will get histogen injections to fill in their thinning areas and avoid going under the knife to transplant hair. Who would want to get butchered by an ht doc when they can get a simple injection of histogen to get the same and possibly better results. The high Norwoods could possibly get ht done with histogen bit the whole point of replicel cell technology is to replace ht and produce hsir neogenisis and hair multiplication . Ht suck and unless you are trying to fill on your temples at Norwood 3. That’s how I see it.

  8. I recently visited a famous dermatologist out of U Penn who is involved in hsir loss research . She told me a lot is being done in hairloss treatments but it won’t be a cure. Just better treatments. I ask for time frame and she said she didn’t know, either 5 ,10 or 15 years. So I left her doctors office puzzled and disappointed. I hate being a Debbie downer but there is too much hype on all these treatments on this site. If something realky works and is a breakthrough treatment it will be all over the news not introduced only on some forum.

  9. It’s all hype and no substance. Nothing will come out of this, not even a mere “band aid”. To talk of a full blown cure in 2020 is wishful thinking.
    Just have a look at Replicel: this company has absolutely nothing to offer and they keep BS about a “cure” to come in a few years. Their CEO keeps blabbing about it everywhere, even going as far as paying for press releases to big up the stock of his absolutely worthless start up.
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but some people are well overdue a reality check!

    1. Athmane you are a Propecia or Minoxidil comercial….get out of here…please…We have a new treatment before 2020 for sure.

      1. Paul,

        I have never touched propecia / minoxidil and never will. I would never recommend such “band aids” – with severe side effects in the case of propecia – either. There is only one way to go about hair loss: you either cure this s*it and move on with your life or shave it off and forget about it.

        To come back to the subject at hand, let me tell you some hard hitting FACTS: the same BS has been brandied about for years and years – Aderans, Histogen, Replicel and the like. You have to understand that these start ups bask in their own self-induced hype to survive. Check Replicels twitter feed: they have just posted a “supposed” claim by Shisheido to a “full blown cure”!! how you guys take them seriously is beyond me , take off your purple tinted specs and see them for what they really are. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

  10. Mjones I went there about 5 years ago as well. That was the same response I received except they said minimum of ten years away from another treatment. Again that was five years ago. Sounds like not much progress has been made in the grand scheme of things.

  11. It seems that nobody wants a cure, or even a more effective treatment than Finasteride and Minoxidil are prehistoric, pathetic treatments with little results and many side effects.


  12. I know its depressing guys when your hair is falling out of your head and you loose self confidence as you get balder day by day. But seriously some of you need to quit moaning. There’s people out there with horrible disfiguring diseases, people born without limbs and you guys are whining because there isn’t a cure right here right now? How can moan when admin provides evidence on a daily basis of what people out there are trying to do for all types of alopecia’s. If it is so bad for you get of your ass and get a doctorate in dermatology and genetics and do some of your own research or at least put your money into funding research! It irks me when people moan and expect everything to be done for them without doing jack all themselves. Have some positivity guys and support these underfunded hard working researchers who are at least looking into a solution.

  13. Paul Phoenix , believe me I would LOVE a new treatment to come that seriously grow ridiculous amount of hair so I can finally forget about hair loss but history repeats itself and all these companies like histogen, replicel etc don’t even have a simple photo of a Norwood 5 man turning back to a Norwood 2. All we get are charts talking about hair density increase or count increase that means nothing. Histogen revealed a picture last Oct that was far from impressive and it was some woman who had her temple filled in a bit but it could have been photoshopped. Show me real hair growth and proof or just close up shop and stop getting our hopes up for crap treatment.

  14. The only treatment that I have some sort of confidence is setiprant. The fact that a large Pharma like allergen bought them shows some promise. But we shall see. This won’t be a cure but I think it will work much better than propecia

    1. You have faith in setipiprant??!!!. I have the least faith in them. Allergan is the turtle of pharmaceutical companies. They have no urgency as demonstrated by bimatoprost. Bim was big new many many years ago and nothing. And its like pulling teeth asking them for an update. I was excited too when the former company owned setipiprant, but not now. Cotsarelis hasn’t even commented on it in ages.

  15. All of this is really frustrating. I think in my opinion there will never be a cure for several reasons. The first is that pharmaceutical companies will never allow it. And second people don’t want it bad enough at least not enough people. I think that if there is a cure it will probably come out in 2030 or worst 2040. As a 24 year old guy who started NW1 a few years ago and probably heading towards NW2 or worst it really sucks.

  16. Totally agree with you Edward. It’s all about economics and supply and demand. A cure would destroy profits . They just need to bring out a treatment that realky works to grow hair at a Norwood 2 thick, and have it be something you need to use forever. That will be a win win for both pharmaceutical companies and customers. They hey constant profits and we get thick hair

  17. Honestly I would just prefer a cure in general I hate the fact that everything is profit based. Everything is fulled by greed. I wish someone could pull off a Jonas Salk and whipe out this disease that’s been around for thousands of years already. Enough is enough

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *