Hair Follicles Across the Body Talk to Each Other

The biggest news story in the hair loss world during the past month probably deserved its own post, but I could not schedule things in that manner.

Hair Follicles Across Body Communicate with Each Other

Last week, respected University of California Irvine based hair loss and stem cell researcher Maksim Plikus (who I previously discussed here) and his team published a ground-breaking study. Their heavily mathematical modeling based findings were that hair follicles throughout the body communicate with each other via chemical signals, with Wnt signaling for growth activation, and BMP signaling for growth deactivation. So belly hair, back hair and scalp hair all communicate with each other. Must make Ernie very pleased.

The New Scientist article on this development discusses potential drug development for hair growth (via “an approach that may spread waves of growth back into balding areas”) and ends with an optimistic quote from Dr. Plikus:

We now have a road map to optimise the levels of activators and inhibitors to achieve desired hair growth.

Note that if such drugs are developed, they will also be able to eliminate excess body hair, a common problem for balding men and women.

As always, the largely trashy UK based gossip rag Daily Mail seems to become an almost respectable scientific magazine when it comes to coverage of latest hair loss research related developments. Their title of this latest development is “Hair speaks through words and sentences“.

Other hair loss news:

— As if one major development was not enough, commentator “Royaume” posted a link to this study in which 14 lung cancer patients getting treated via immunotherapy (anti-PD-1 and anti–PD-L1) saw a large portion of their grey hair become dark again. The before and after photo (see further below) of what I presume is the best case responder is truly unbelievable and I would have assumed a fraud (it almost looks like two different people) were it not for the fact that JAMA Dermatology, which published the study, seems to have a solid reputation. It is almost impossible to reverse/repigment grey hair in substantial amounts due to melanoctye cell death, so this is a very surprising development. In fact, even Follica was impressed and retweeted JAMA’s before and after photo and I will do the same:

Immunotherapy has become an increasingly utilized and researched treatment for cancer in recent years. Moreover, of late, we in the hair loss world have also seen some major stories that suggest a potential immune system component to hair growth and perhaps even androgenetic alopecia (AGA). And now it seems that immunotherapy can sometimes reverse grey hair. Consequently, I continue to keep a track of Aclaris Therapeutics and their pending clinical trials on using specialized topical JAK inhibitors to treat AGA. As long-time readers of this blog know, JAK inhibitors have cured alopecia areata (AA) in many people in the past several years. However, unlike AA, AGA has historically not been linked to the immune system (until the recent regulatory T Cells — Tregs — related study suggested the possibility).

Interesting study from Iran related to growing hair in mice via injection of hair epithelial and dermal papilla cells.

Blimp1 before Wnt/β-catenin activation?

How Hollywood tackles hair loss.

— Good news from the FDA for Concert Pharmaceuticals’ CTP-543 alopecia areata drug trials.

— Despite all these developments, for the time being, hair transplants (and several drugs) are sometimes the best option.

— Always been a fan of stories about MTF transsexuals getting their hair, and of course the Daily Mail agrees.

And now on to medical items of interest:

FDA approves a gene altering treatment for cancer. A new era in medicine that involves altering T-cells and the immune system.

— Scientists can now erase specific memories from snail brains.

Snip, snip, cure. “We feel that we’re right on the precipice of a new personalised medical future”.

— Harvard scientists (including Dr. George Church): CRISPR–Cas9 encoding of a digital movie into the genomes of a population of living bacteria.

49 thoughts on “Hair Follicles Across the Body Talk to Each Other”

      1. There was nothing in the study showing Tregs were associated with AGA. Those quotes are just speculation from one of the authors, based on what I’m not sure.

  1. Everytime Admin post “BRIEF ITEMS OF INTEREST” hit me, another month has passed and still no great news with baldness cure, this is sad….

  2. The guy whose hair went from gray to brown/black who is pictured – it also went from wavy/curly to pretty straight.

    And yes, these ~exciting discoveries~ never seem to bear any fruit. People are as bald and gray as ever. The despair, it grows. The hair, not so much.

  3. Checkmate!
    AGA has won in my case, despite all my efforts the last 5 years, I have tried everything. Now during the summer in Europe I will let someone else shave my head, or at least cut it really short. I am getting ready for the sunburns.

    The worst things are out of the AGA patients’ control:
    1) Our AGA DNA
    2) Scientists years active in the AGA niche, not releasing anything effective and safe in time
    3) MD’s taking everything serious except for AGA. They fear they risk their career and scientific reputation if they dare to admit openly AGA is a problem

      1. I am a bad responder (side effects) when it comes to a5-reductase inhibitors. They might have saved my crown though.

        A hairtransplant is the last option, but then I have to be certain that something will be released within 12-24 months in order to maintain the remaining hair. You need something instead of FIN to maintain the rest.

        1. Samw here. Not responding to fin and dut give moobs. Non responder to ru and minox as well.

          Going to try enzaflutamide and/or seti after more people have tried it.

        2. I was also a bad responder to fin. Will admit that it pretty much completely stopped the hair loss but the sides were real in hindsight. I just didn’t feel healthy on it more than anything. About a year after stopping I started feeling noticeably better.

          Far better options will be available in the not so distant future. To me, it wasn’t worth continuing jacking with your hormones. Especially at a young age, you have no idea how this could permanently modulate your body down the road.

          1. Matt, what do you think about topical FIN, worth a try, or will it go systematic just like oral? Some HT clinics state on their website that “requests about topical FIN can be answered by our clinic”. It looks like they changed their opinion about oral FIN lately.

            For years, clinics have been asking patients to start taking oral FIN prior to the surgery. More and more people reject that request, and I think the clinics are trying to make topical FIN the standard now.

            1. I really have no idea on if it is effective topically. I think once a follicle gets to a certain point you can’t reach it via the blood stream anymore, and even reaching the ones around it may not be good enough to do anything substantial.

  4. I dont think fin is working for me at .25 ed for 5 months then ive did .5 for two months so 7 months in with worse hair than even balding on crown now where it used to be thick as hell..any reassurance?

    1. Dose should be al least .75. It took me 9-10 months for it to work for me and give me regrowth. I was taking 1.25

  5. “FDA approves a gene altering treatment for cancer”
    Wow. Is this really happening now? Once scientists can alter genes with confidence there really is no limit to what they can do next, especially when the genome mapping is practically finished already. I think this is bigger than curing hair loss. Interesting times we live in.

  6. Honestly at this point there is nothing solid for aga …i think follica is just stalling like histogen… the moment anyone has something solid… they wont wait for the world….

    1. Follica’s device and app for android and iphone are ready to release…what are you talking about @farhan? Stop saying nonsense…please…

  7. People in this forum need to take a serious look at the law of attraction. If all you can be is negative then don’t be surprised if all you get is more reasons to be negative. I think the news is very promising, sure it’s not the confirmation of a cure just yet, but every little helps! Step by step we will get there.

  8. News from Tsuji: (Credit to Noisette @HLT)

    Noisette has contacted Tsuji in order to have some news about their technology and since the last great interview made by HTT (published on september 2016).

    News :
    1. Recently, we successfully developed an expansion method of hair follicle-derived stem cells.
    2. Next step: Trying to challenge of the expansion of human-derived cells
    3. Clinical application in human at March 2019 (expected)

    Here we go :

    ” Dear Doctor Tsuji,
    I would like to thank you for all your hard work and spending your precious time to answer to many people.
    I bought your book called “Organ Regeneration Based on Developmental Biology” and I read an interview with Riken and Organ technolgies about Hair Loss.

    If it’s possible, I would like to know if you have made some progress with the technology to cultivate epithelial stem cells of follicles, because last year it still remains a significant challenge globally.

    Many thanks dear Doctor ” .

    ” Dear (John Doe),

    Thank you for your contact regarding our work.

    I am grateful that you had read my book and have interests to our hair follicle regeneration. Recently, we successfully developed an expansion method of hair follicle-derived stem cells, although the results are unpublished. We are now trying to challenge of the expansion of human-derived cells and plan to do the clinical application in human at March 2019.

    I appreciate that you will continue to watch our study.

    Source: HLT Thread

    1. @Royaume

      Tsuji/Riken/Kyocera partnership is the real deal. I’ve said it all along. The science was there, but the only thing missing was a method to multiply follicle Epithelial cells.

      Now the confirmation is right there. Tsuji and his team have recently discovered a way to multiply Epithelial stem cells (something they had originally alluded to back in September) which was the single largest hurtle in the hair multiplication field. These results will soon be official and published.

      This is the cure. And it will be available to all sometime in the 2020’s. There is no bigger news than this so far in the history of hairloss research.

      The only news that will top this for me is when they set an official treatment release date.

      1. Ya if something else doesn’t come out before this, this will pretty much be what people want. You have an unlimited supply of hormonal resistant hair.

  9. OMG…that’s GREAT NEWS!!! Tsuji release in 2020…@admin: you will have a interview with samumed? Thanks in advance.

  10. Interesting that hair all ‘communicates’ with each other through the body.

    Definitely leans into the anecdotal evidence of losing scalp hair and gaining body hair, as people say it joking ‘moves down the body.’

    Makes me wonder if they can figure out how to reverse it. Would people be okay with a full head of hair but hairless legs? haha

  11. Can’t think of an evolutionary advantage for this redistribution of hair away from the head and on the body, except the vit D angle for caucasians via sunlight hitting the scalp. That aside, the correlation between scalp and body hair/beard hair seems anecdotally true, certainly in my case. My beard is extremely dark and thick and my body hair advances year on year.
    Admin, when Ernie mentions removing body hair does he also recommend a method for doing so. Seems to be that permanent removal at the root level would be needed. I’d happily laser away my back hair!!

    1. Hi Del, if I recall, he always talked about plucking body hair.

      I was never a member of the groups where he was allowed to post, but did read many of his posts and rants.

      If you have the money and a crazy amount of time on your hands, you could try electrolysis body hair removal.

      1. FYI I have struggled with excess body hair and have successfully lasers my chest, stomach, shoulders, arms, hands and buttocks (lol – it had to be done). No change to my scalp after this. I have much less body hair and am thinking about a few sessions on my legs to lessen the hit there. I’ve always hated being too hairy.

        1. Lasers aren’t permanent though…it comes back after a while and needs maintenance sessions still right?

  12. u know the worst thing in hairloss? people who are giving timelines like above…
    It just wont stop…
    if it was up to me I will block such comments.. here is why?
    It gives (false) hope to many responders who are actively using fin or considering… We just have to live in the present not 3-4 years from now and put off our dreams until then.

    Thats why I really appreciate the work Spencer doing… he barely talks about cutting edge treatments because at the end it just does more bad than good… just think about it..

  13. @donitello: he barely talks about new treatments because he don’t want it!!! Easy. New treatments are coming and you know it.

  14. I like how follica has showed their marketing product box of RAIN. I also like they developed an app and plan for their product. This may be wishful thinking but all of this shows that they are ready to release pretty soon. No other company has this yet. Not SM, not sisheido, histoscam, etc. I just hope the 100cm2 hair thing is real visible normal hair and that it can stop further loss. I think we deserve a treatment like that by now. If it’s just a few random new hairs that we have to really focus on finding under magnifying mirrors then F it.

  15. Hmmmm I was thinking. If hairloss is indeed somehow related to the immune sustem perhaps doing a six day fast could help. Your body basically regenerates a lot of it when you refeed.

  16. Very interesting reading that New Scientist article because what they are talking about is essentially what Follica have been saying they can/hope to do. One of the things that Follica have talked about in the past, and it can be forgotten easily, is that they hope to stop unwanted hair growth.

    I assume they are currently doing that pivotal trial. Hope all goes well!

  17. Preservation of a specialized phenotype of dermal papilla cells of a human hair follicle under cultivation conditions

    Possible ways to extend cultivation of dermal papilla cells without the loss of expression of their specific markers were studied. The effect of extracellular matrix components, as well as valproic acid, on the maintenance of the phenotype of dermal papilla cells was studied for the first time. Two ways of cultivation (in a monolayer culture and in spheroids) were used. It was established that a short-term positive effect is reached during the addition of the BMP6 growth factor and vitamin D3 in the monolayer culture, while cultivation in spheroids or in the presence of valproic acid allows us to preserve most efficiently the initial phenotype of these cells in vitro. The significance of the results obtained for tissue engineering and for the study of regeneration processes is discussed.

    Original Russian Text

  18. Will CRISPR do anything for baldness? Surely the DNA that’s responsible for the genesis of new hair follicles can be tinkered with with this tool, right?

  19. Does a male polycystic ovarian syndrome equivalent exist?

    The occurrence of a genetic background in the etiology of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) represents the rational basis to postulate the existence of a male PCOS equivalent. Hormonal and metabolic abnormalities have been described in male relatives of women with PCOS. These males also have a higher prevalence of early onset (<35 years) androgenetic alopecia (AGA). Hence, this feature has been proposed as a clinical sign of the male PCOS equivalent. Clinical evidence has shown that men with early onset AGA have hormonal and metabolic abnormalities. Large cohort studies have clearly shown a higher prevalence of type II diabetes mellitus (DM II) and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in elderly men with early onset AGA. In addition, prostate cancer, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis have been described. These findings support the existence of the male PCOS equivalent, which may represent an endocrine syndrome with a metabolic background, and might predispose to the development of DM II, CVDs, prostate cancer, BPH and prostatitis later in life. Its acknowledgment would be helpful for the prevention of these long-term complications.

  20. The World Congress Program was updated.
    George Cotsarelis is listed as a speaker for “Aderance” … is it the same Aderans company?? and does someone have an idea why he listed as a speaker for them?

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