I have discussed the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and Wnt signaling numerous times on this blog in the past. This avenue of research is one of the most exciting ones in the hair loss world. It does not involve any kind of complicated cell multiplication and implantation type procedure.
If realized, the cure or treatment for hair loss that will arise from activating the Wnt signaling pathway (and subsequently maintaining the epithelial β-catenin signaling) will likely come from a topical product. A 2022 study from South Korea summarized the molecular mechanism behind various natural hair loss products that activate the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Of note, defects in the workings of the Wnt pathway are implicated in numerous diseases and medical conditions. Therefore, there are numerous scientists around the world who are studying this important subject matter for non-alopecia related reasons.
Wnt/β-catenin Pathway Signaling and Hair Loss
- By far the most well known company that is currently working on a topical hair loss drug via activating the Wnt pathway is Samumed. We eagerly await their publication of final Phase II clinical trial results and subsequent commencement of Phase III trials. I am on Samumed’s mailing list, but have received no recent updates. I am hoping it will happen any day now. Update: In 2022, Samumed (which became Biosplice) ended its work on the hair loss product. A massive disappointment.
- In my last post, I mentioned that Dr. Antonella Tosti is presenting a paper titled “A new topical Wnt/beta-catenin activator in the treatment of men with male pattern hair loss”. I wondered what topical this would be, and commentator “Bob Ross’s Hair” hypothesized that it is methyl vanillate based on this study from 2016 in which Dr. Tosti is a co-author.
- Related to the above, Dr. John Cole’s staff recently wrote a blog post on their new WNT Act product for sale in the US. This product contains methyl vanillate. Dr. Cole has collaborated with Dr. Tosti many times in the past and mentioned this in his interview on this blog. It seems like the Deltacrin WNT product sold in Italy is the exact same thing as the WNT Act product being sold in the US. On the US product’s Amazon page, they claim a 7% increase in hair density and a 10% increase in hair diameter.
Update: July 2023 — See my new post on JW Pharmaceutical.
Commentator “Donitello” who often posts nonsense did surprise me and found a gem early last week. A South Korean company named JW Pharmaceutical (in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. George Cotsarelis) is developing a topical Wnt signal activating product to tackle hair loss.
The product is currently known as CWL08006, and the company aims to start pre-clinical trials in 2019. Apparently JW Pharma has been conducting research on the Wnt pathway since the early 2000s, and currently holds numerous patents and rights to proprietary compounds in this area.
Update: October 2022 — JW Pharma will present preclinical results of its Wnt hair loss treatment “JW0061” at the Wnt 2022 conference to be held in Japan from November 15th. Note that these results are based on animal models.
JW0061 is a substance that promotes the differentiation and proliferation of hair follicle stem cells that are involved in hair growth. It does this by activating the Wnt signaling pathway, which stops working correctly during the process of hair loss.
Update: November 2022 — Above now confirmed. JW made a presentation on its newly identified Wnt-modulating small molecule “JW0061” at the “Wnt 2022 conference. It demonstrated preclinical efficacy for hair regeneration. According to preclinical data, JW0061 activates the Wnt signaling pathway by directly binding to the GFRA1 protein in dermal papilla cells.