There were three important developments in the world of hair loss in December 2019 that I did not cover in separate posts. Mostly because these days I am too impatient to take interest in new findings that will likely not lead to any groundbreaking treatment in the short term.
Dermal Sheath Contraction and Hair Loss
Dr. Michael Rendl and his team at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York discovered that preventing the dermal sheath smooth muscle from contracting could stop hair loss. In future, a drug could prevent such muscle contraction and one would never shed hair. The best way to avoid androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is to stop hair from falling out in the first place. This treatment of blocking contraction of the sheath muscle has the potential to do just that in the future. Actual study here.
Lymphatic System Involved in Hair Loss
Another renowned hair loss researcher from New York that I have covered in the past is Dr. Elaine Fuchs. In December, her team at Rockefeller University found that the lymphatic system plays a key role in hair regeneration. Hair follicle stem cells control the behavior of lymphatic capillaries. This discovery can lead to new therapeutic targets for lymph-related conditions, including wound-healing defects and hair loss. Actual study here.
CRISPR/Cas9 Delivery System for AGA
Also in December 2019, South Korean scientists published an important paper on using CRISPR/Cas9 to treat androgenetic alopecia. They used ultrasound delivery and activation of nanoliposomal particles. The researchers successfully transferred protein constructs into hair follicle dermal papilla cells.
There are very few studies on the use of CRISPR and gene therapy (or gene modification) to treat hair loss. Hopefully, this will start to change in the near future. Most scientists are interested in using CRISPR to treat medical problems rather than cosmetic ones. It will always be easier to get government approval for the former rather than the latter.
Did anyone see Unnatural Selection on Netflix, which was released in December? I recommend doing so.