Dr. Luis Garza of Johns Hopkins University

Update: April 27, 2020

Dermatologist Dr. Luis Garza from John Hopkins Medicine is among the 10 most renowned hair loss researchers in the US. Both the general media and myself have not covered him anywhere near as frequently as we have others. Especially compared to the “Big Three” of Angela Christiano, George Cotsarelis and Ken Washenik.

However, as a hair loss researcher, I respect Dr. Garza more than any other leading scientist. Primarily because he seems to have stuck with one institution for most of his career. And he does not seem to be affiliated with various commercial interests. Dr. Garza is especially well known for his work with PGD2 and hair growth.

Dr. Luis Garza Recent Interview

Yesterday, I discovered a great recent video interview of Dr. Garza with ideaXme’s Ira Pastor. It only had 508 views at the time of writing this post, so was missed by most people. Youtube has a goldmine of such barely viewed content that does not show up when people sort by view count.

At the moment, the below video has 25 thumbs up votes and 0 thumbs down votes. I agree with this percentage. This is the first time that I have seen Dr. Garza on video, which is very surprising to me.

Among the most interesting parts of the below video include:

  • Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and its influence on scarless wound healing and hair regeneration.
  • Wounding and hair growth aka wound induced hair neogenesis.
  • Genes involving dsRNA and genes involving skin retinoic acid production are both expressed at higher levels after laser treatment.
  • Organogenesis and limb regeneration to help the wounded.
  • The connection and similarities between hair regeneration, skin regeneration and organ regeneration.
  • Cells have a GPS type homing mechanism that tells them where to go and how to behave.


August 6, 2015

I have discussed Dr. Luis Garza’s work on this blog several times before, mostly related to his important findings about prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) and its impact on hair growth.  Dr. Garza is among the most accomplished and respected hair loss researchers in the world. He works at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  In fact he has his own named facility there called the Garza Laboratory. The list of projects that his team is currently working on includes several focused on hair growth.

Toll-Like Receptor 3 and Double-stranded RNA

Today, Dr. Garza and his team published an important article in the Cell Stem Cell Journal.  They have found that a protein called toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) plays a crucial role in the regeneration of damaged skin and hair follicles. TLR3 activates various genes (IL6 and STAT3) and signaling pathways (Wnt and Shh) that are involved in hair regeneration.

It is common knowledge that damaged mammalian skin releases double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which is then sensed by TLR3. Besides the previously mentioned regeneration of damaged skin and hair follicles, TLR2 also plays a role in activating the immune system.

While most of the main work was done on mice, in a side experiment on humans, the Garza team found that “the expression of TLR3 was five times higher in scratched human skin cell samples compared to healthy skin cell samples.”

The Garza team also found that adding synthetic synthetic dsRNA to mouse skin wounds led to a greater number of regenerated follicles.

My two favorite quotes from Dr. Garza in the article:

It has long been known that skin damage can trigger regeneration.

The clinical translation of this work is promising because work has already started, says Garza. Drug companies are already developing products to activate TLR3 to trigger the immune system, and these same products could be tested to promote regeneration.

My least favorite quote from Dr. Garza in the article (although the “might” in there is encouraging):

He also made clear that the information might not be as applicable to conditions unrelated to scarring or to those whose hair follicles are lost from male pattern baldness.

45 thoughts on “Dr. Luis Garza of Johns Hopkins University”

      1. Admin, you should know that people are tired of waiting. In United States, in Europe and in Asia People with MPB want a new effective treatment.

        I think the title of the blog is correct.

        Great Blog.

  1. Any advance in understanding can only help. Everything is tied together.

    The reason people are despairing is because they’re racing against the clock. The researchers can’t help you with that problem. They can only keep doing what they’ve been doing what objectively can only be called a very successful job.

    But I do also blame some of the popular mainstream media who have often jumped on any news with titles like “end of hair loss finally here” – each time getting people’s hopes up but really only baiting them to click on their articles.

    Just try not to blame the researchers or those who gather solid information and present it unbiased, like the admin of this blog.

    1. The work the administration is doing is to be lauded. I just find it a tad over optimistic to predict a “cure” in the near future. This research malarkey has been going on for ages and the laughingly meagre results do not augur well for the future. If you look at the players in this market – a bunch of struggling upstarts – you have to say it’s really bleak out there. I will have to make an exception for the big pharms out there with the pull and resources.
      But even then we’re talking “band aid “, not a full blown cure.

      1. There is a cure. But you’re not going to like it.

        It’s not about curing bald people, but curing the world of bald people. :D

  2. Racing against the clock? 30 years without nothing better than prehistorical drugs like minoxidil and propecia? Please…

  3. I meant each of us is against the clock. That’s why delays and unfulfilled hopes are so hard to handle.

    And to put things into context. Until the 90s or so when finasteride and minoxidil came about, there was nothing in all of recorded history. Of all humans who have ever lived, we are the only generation ever to have any actual hope of witnessing a cure. We are highly privileged really. But that makes the disappointment all the worse since we know that it’s at least theoretically possible.

    Of course both those drugs were discovered by accident through a side effect – so if anything, that shows that the cause is still not understood properly.

  4. Holy crap I’m confused ugghhhh. This must be relevant to scarring alopecia only. Hasn’t Christiano shown that Stat (not Stat3 however) inhibition treats (practically cures) alopecia areata, which is non-scarring. And her recent patents suggest Stat inhibition has wider implications for promoting hair growth in general!!!???? I give up ughhh

    1. I sent you an e-mail yesterday. Please post that comment in a Finasteride blog post (there are several) and not here as this was a Dr. Garza blog post. Also, try to just post a link to the forum page from where you got that content from as it was a very long comment. If you post under the right blog post of the same subject matter, I almost always approve the comment.

      Lastly, when you post a comment, please do not fill out the website/URL address field.

  5. Admin, your efforts are very much appreciated by the quiet, yet positive majority. Keep the info coming, remain optimistic and thank you!

  6. Fantastic video and very exciting information. But…the all important question is when? When will these therapies come to fruition? Would they be willing to collaborate with Japanese researchers to get this to marketplace much quicker than if they went through U.S. clinical trials.

  7. @meko; all that is is a safer process to dye hair. It doesn’t get to the root of the problem nor does it edit genes.

  8. Editing genes for grey hair? If you’re 10, it may happen in your lifetime. There won’t be a cure for grey hair anytime soon. You’ll have your hair back long before then.

  9. So anything about Tsuji? Or is he out….
    I remember in 2019 there was like 7 companies.

    Now what is it?
    I might just go Topical Finasteride here after the virus is done. I am a diffuse 2.5ish. If I style my hair like Brad pitt from Fury, you can barely tell, but it’s kind of a light comb over effect. Grrr.

    I might just do topical fin 4x a week
    Niz shampoo once a week
    Teat tree shampoo 1x a week
    and some other shampoo 1x a week- Idk Regenpure or some type with caffeine?

    Maybe an all natural route 1-2x per week…like black castor and an essential oil on recession area.

    I already take trace minerals, and B complex. Plus jumping back into bodybuilding, but want to keep a more leaner look. 2500 calories 45%carbs, 25% protein, 30% fat.

    I do have bone broth protein, I never used.Also, I can take saw palmetto maybe a few times a week. Not to OCD over it.

    I refuse minox, I can get it for free. Dr wrote a script for it lol. So he said my insurance might cover and it does. Mind you I have clinicals, and my own dr is sometimes on my floor, as I am still a student. Reason I never used minox is because I don’t think it addresses long term issue…like maybe 1 year you see results, then it slowly digresses and your stuck on it.

    I also can get a script for TRT ( Testosterone ), but idk the effects of fin with testosterone. I think fin can offset Test on minor dosages, it’s trt…not crazy levels.

    IDK just some ideas. Besides the test, does the hair protocal look ok?

      1. I agree with Boris. A student turning into a have-a-go chemist over his Norwood 2.5. Use your young years to instead get very rich, then nobody will care what your hair looks like.
        As proved by the Romans 2,000 years ago, the only way for you to stop it is castration.

  10. Many guys in this blog don’t seem to understand how devastating baldness can be for some of us … I started losing my hair at the age of 19 and since then time seems to have stopped as in a kind of spell, a spell that only a cure can break … I know I’m mentally screwed but unfortunately that’s the reality

    1. I started losing mine at 19. I now get more attention from both genders at the age of 38 and balding than I ever did at 19. If it upsets you that much, get a hat or a hair system. It’s not worth your life.

        1. I just want to see what I can get in life, but without getting upset about it if medicine/genetics/finances/etc says no. It’s more of a scientific fascination rather than a singular defect in which to blame all my other shortcomings in life.

          Sometimes when I read comments in here it reminds me of the guy in the gym who desperately wants abs. He has some other big complex problems in his life, but if he can get those abs then all of that complex other stuff will magically go away and life will be ace.

  11. ok… we are all different and maybe if the guy in the gym gets his abs everything else will follow…

    1. Highly unlikely. He has got some raw talent flowing through his veins, but also high levels of saturated fat.

      1. Scott, For a guy who is preaches that hair loss isn’t a truly impactful thing on someone’s life, you sure do spend a lot of time on this forum. Also, how much time and money do you spend on the wig? If that solved your problem, why keep returning to this website?

        Point is, quit pretending you have a solution and that others are weak for acknowledging the impact of baldness. It has clearly affected you as well. A wig is highly invasive and impactful on daily life, so that’s trading one problem for many others (including people judging you or being turned off by obviously glued-on hair). Also, not having visible abs is not nearly as noticeable as a bald head on a daily basis and not a concern for 99% of guys. There’s no equivalence in that comparison, especially since abs are achievable while a real head of hair is not. That’s not a fair or rational point you made.

        1. Don’t make me the bad guy just because I don’t cry into a pillow every time I look in the mirror at my head.
          I return to this website because despite the good results I have had with my wig, it is (hopefully) a short term solution.

          If that makes me a cheat, or a devil or a Trump or Hilary fan I can live with it.

  12. Two questions for you lot:

    1) Has anyone looked into Hairstetics? At first glance, it seems like an ideal “solution” for diffuse thinners, but I’m guessing there is a reason why I haven’t heard of them until now. Thoughts?

    2) At the moment, I can’t use finasteride as my wife and I are trying for a child. Would topical finasteride be okay? Or does it go systemic and present the same potential risks?

    1. With regards to number 1, thanks for bringing this to my attention and if suitable I will try it and provide @admin with a before and after video.

      Regarding number 2, please consult with an actual doctor in person.

  13. @Paul Hairstetics is not FDA approved. I’m not sure if you’re willing to do something like that. After going through the website, it sounds like it’s a titanium anchor that is placed under the skin and artificial hair is connected to it and comes out of the scalp. There’s a lot of room for infection and only slightly more appealing in theory to wearing a wig.

  14. Rick: Yeah, I don’t like the sound of that! My worries are that it could damage the scalp or underlying tissue. I asked them for photos, so we’ll see what they say.

    Scott: I will consult a doctor, but whenever I ask doctors about hairloss-related issues, they seem to know less than some of the people on forums like this.

  15. I met Dr.Luis Garza in Baltimore, after reading his papers on NCBI and Pub Med. I thought he would have some interesting suggestions but looks like he doesn’t want to prescribe anything outside the FDA approved treatments( Which is understandable). Anyways he suggested:

    1) Micro Needling can be done
    2) Monoxidil (foam to be applied with a tooth brush no the scalp) +PRP (did not stress anything about exosomes)
    3) Finasteride
    4) LLT

    Nothing new came out of it the entire discussion but at least he encouraged at home micro-needling procedure. I use 0.14mm.

    At last he mentioned he is looking forward for a break through in his research soon.

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