Category Archives: Kang-Yell Choi

CK Regeon and its Hair Loss Peptide

In 2017, I covered the development of a new biochemical peptide material called PTD-DDM that would grow hair. The peptide targets the CXXC5 gene, resulting in activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. This is turn leads to accelerated hair regrowth.

The South Korean team that conducted this research was led by Dr. Kang-Yell Choi, who even has a wikipedia entry. I previously also covered Dr. Choi in my post on valproic acid and hair growth.

CK Regeon

To bring this hair growth peptide (KY19382) to market, Dr. Choi started a company named CK Biotech that I mentioned in my original post. However, in 2021, it was renamed to CK Regeon.

Recently, I heard again about this company due its presentation at a June 30, 2022 South Korean symposium on the development of innovative new drugs for hair loss. This conference was led by Epibiotech and Yonsei University. On an interesting side note, Inventage Lab also presented at this conference, indicating that finasteride injections are still on track.

CK Regeon
CK Regeon. Dr. Kang-Yell Choi’s new company targeting CXXX5 inhibition in order to restore Wnt/beta-catenin signaling.

Make sure to read CK Regeon’s regular press releases. On Linkedin, the company currently has 8 employees. On the company’s Twitter page, they keep sharing an updated infographic on the benefits of Wnt pathway activation. The latest heading:

“WNT Pathway restoration, a therapeutic target for tissue regeneration, diabetic wound healing, hair growth, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), obesity and diabetes.”

On the company’s target diseases page and pipeline page, they include the above conditions as well as “countering short stature” and treating Alzheimer’s disease.

While I doubt that CK Regeon can cover all these bases, it is not surprising that the Wnt/Beta-Catenin signaling pathway is so crucial to human health.

Blocking CXXC5 and Improved Wnt/Beta-Catenin Signaling

Previously, we got excited about the potential of Samumed in curing hair loss by activating the Wnt pathway. Unfortunately, this company did not pan out after years of favorable publicity.

Another company named Frequency Therapeutics is trying to regrow inner ear hair cells via stimulating the Wnt signaling pathway. Fractional lasers and wounding also work on the same pathway, leading to a regrowth of scalp hair in some who are lucky.

CK Regeon’s overall technology entails blocking the CXXC5-Dishevelled (Dvl) protein-protein interaction (PPI). This is accomplished via the creation of new small molecules or peptides. This inhibition of CXXC5 results in restored Wnt/beta-catenin signaling and hair regrowth.

Note that CXXC5 is overexpressed in men with androgenetic alopecia (aka male pattern baldness). CXXC5 is a negative feedback regulator of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway.

New Biochemical Material PTD-DBM to Target CXXC5

Edit: It seems like this CXXC5 targeting study discussed in this post was first published in June 2017. Not sure why they now have a newer November 2017 publication date. Nor why the global media only covered it so intensively this past week.

A Reddit thread on this became very popular with over 2,500 comments.

Update: August 2020 — A new paper on KY19382 (a novel activator of Wnt/β-catenin signaling) was submitted in 2020 (approved in 2021). KY19382 works via the inhibition of the interaction between CXXC-type zinc finger protein 5 (CXXC5) and Dishevelled (Dvl). One of the authors is Dr. Kang-Yell Choi.

Update: February 2021: South Korean company CK Biotech is working on a CXXC5 product for hair loss via developing the PTD-DBM peptide. In February, 2021 they managed to raise $12 million in Series B funding. The company’s CEO is Dr. Kang-Yell Choi whose work I discuss later in this post. On their site, they discuss the CXXC5 and PTD-DBM per below:

CXXC5 and PTD-DM peptide for hair loss.

Last week, several of my alerts led to South Korean websites that discussed new successful local research targeting the Wnt pathway to reverse hair loss. Since I very recently wrote a post concerning the Wnt pathway, I was planning to save this news for my next “brief items of interest” post. However, four different readers commented about this news in the past week. And there are now many online news articles being published on this subject daily. So I decided to write a second post related to Wnt in less than a month.

Targeting of CXXC5 by PTD-DBM Causes Hair Regrowth

The actual paper was published in the prestigious Journal of Investigative Dermatology. South Korean scientists found that CXXC-type zinc finger protein 5 (CXXC5) is a negative regulator of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. In fact, CXXC5 is upregulated in both thinning hair and arrector pili muscles in balding scalps. The lead author is Dr. Kang-Yell Choi.

The scientists managed to disrupt something termed as the “CXXC5-Dishevelled interaction” with a newly developed competitor peptide biomaterial called PTD-DBM. This resulted in activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and accelerated hair regrowth and wound-induced hair follicle neogenesis in mice. Yet more evidence on the benefits of wounding?

Interestingly, at the start of the above paper, they also mention the famous hair loss researcher Dr. Luis Garza and his recent paper (co-authored with Dr. Dangwon Kim) titled “The Negative Regulator CXXC5: Making WNT Look a Little Less Dishevelled“. Perhaps Dr. Garza is also collaborating on this research?

Valproic Acid and Hair

Also of interest, the scientists added valproic acid into the mix and found that it sped up hair growth in the mice. There has been evidence on the benefits of valproic acid on scalp hair growth in the past. In fact a seminal work on the subject also came from South Korea in 2014, when scientists found that topical valproic acid increases hair counts in balding men. Apparently, valproic activates the activates the Wnt/β-catenin pathway (and inhibits glycogen synthase kinase 3β).

Dr. Kang-Yell Choi in South Korean Papers

Below are some of the online South Korean sites that covered this story. This research must be significant enough to be covered in so many local sources. Moreover, while the research team was led by Dr. Kang-Yell Choi of Yonsei University, some of the below sources suggest involvement of the South Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning in this work.

Future PTD-DBM Drug Development

The UK’s Metro newspaper covered this story today. Key quote from Kang-Yell Choi, the main researcher involved:

“We have found a protein that controls the hair growth and developed a new substance that promotes hair regeneration by controlling the function of the protein. We expect that the newly developed substance will contribute to the development of a drug that not only treats hair loss but also regenerate damaged skin tissues”.

Mr. Kang-Yell Choi seems to have many patents related to the Wnt/β-catenin pathway to his name. He even has his own wikipedia entry.