Category Archives: Ralf Paus

Monasterium Laboratory

At the recent 76th annual meeting of SID I noticed an interesting presentation titled “Olfactory receptor stimulation promotes human hair growth“, with the lead author being a Dr. Jérémy Chéret who I had never heard of before. One of the co-authors, however, was the well known Dr. Ralf Paus, who I have covered on this blog several times in the past.

While (unsuccessfully) trying to find a full version of the above paper, I stumbled upon the website of a new company that Dr. Paus has started in Germany called Monasterium Laboratory Skin & Hair Research Solutions. Although the company was supposedly started in 2015, it seems like their website only came on-stream in 2016.

On the website, they have a blurry image of the earlier mentioned study on the olfactory receptor (specifically, the OR2AT4 receptor) in one of the rotating banners on top. Apparently the company even released a product in Italy in 2017 called Bioscalin Signal Revolution and it supposedly stimulates the OR2AT4 receptor. If any of you readers frequent the major Italian hair loss forums out there, I would be curious as to what they think about this product.

Another interesting study that the Monasterium team has published recently concludes that the antidepressant Fluoxetine (Prozac) promotes human hair follicle pigmentation and could prevent grey hair formation. This is interesting and surprising, because there have also been some reports that SSRIs such as Prozac can cause hair loss in some patients.

According to Monasterium Lab’s news page, they will be moving into a brand new research facility in 2018 (located in this modern nanobiotech research hub):

Caveat

During the course of my research for this post, I read this wikipedia entry on Dr. Paus’ wife (with parts of it also involving Dr. Paus), and there seems to be some controversy regarding their past work. Nevertheless, this does not seem to have prevented Monasterium Laboratory from having a pretty solid list of advisers as well as collaboration partners (they list Shiseido as one of those, at the bottom of this page).

I have my doubts about this one, but nevertheless a very interesting new development. The US, Japan and Germany seem to be leading global hair loss research, although Germany has been lagging the other two so I am glad about this new addition in that country.

Feliz Navidad — Breakthrough from Spain

Update: Seems like the positive impact of macrophages on hair growth was already known in 2007!  Thanks to commenter “spain”.

2007 study from Osaka et al.

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I had heard about all of the above  developments right around when they first occurred, but was still not particularly hopeful of anything significant happening in Spain when it comes to hair loss research related breakthroughs.   Most of the widely respected hair loss research scientists in the world seem to reside in the US, UK, Germany, Japan and several other parts of Northern Europe and developed Asia.

However, two days ago, Spanish scientists (from the previously mentioned cancer research institute CNIO) led by Dr. Mirna Perez-Moreno and Dr. Donatello Castellana published a groundbreaking hair loss research related paper in the PLOS Biology journal titled “Macrophages Contribute to the Cyclic Activation of Adult Hair Follicle Stem Cells.”  It should be noted that Dr. Moreno has previously worked at noted hair loss researcher Elaine Fuchs’ laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow. Further lending credibility to this paper is a third co-author and well known hair loss researcher by the name of Dr. Ralf Paus.

For the average layperson (including myself), the above publication is difficult to digest in its entirety if one does not want to spend half a day reading it and go back and forth with google dictionary.  So here are links to articles with easier to understand summaries:

Article 1: From the sometimes great, usually trashy dailymail.

Article 2: From the interesting EurekAlert.

Article 3: From the Spanish elpais (use the “Translate to English” option in the Chrome browser after right clicking on your mouse).

The main findings:

  1. Macrophages (a type of white blood cell) can activate adult hair follicle stem cells.
  2. Mice started to regrow hair when they were given anti-inflammatory drugs (It seems like this whole year in hair loss research can largely be summed up by the words “inflammation” and “anti-inflammatory”).
  3.  Macrophages secrete a number of growth factors including a class of proteins called Wnt.  You can do a search on this blog for Wnt, Wnt7b and Wnt/Beta-Catenin to learn more about Wnt proteins and corresponding pathways.  You can search via the search box in the upper right, or via the “Categories” menu located on the upper left side if you are viewing this blog on a computer (or all the way down if you are viewing this blog on a mobile device or tablet).

As usual the study was carried out in mice and not humans…but I think that it is now only a matter of a short time before we see an increasing number of trials in humans.  As I have mentioned many times on this blog, this will probably happen faster in Asia than in other regions due to regulatory reasons.

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