Dr. Luis Garza of Johns Hopkins University Publishes New Findings

Due to a proliferation of repetitive negative and pessimistic comments from some blog readers recently, I will start of this post with two caveats that need not be repeated in the comments via sarcastic one liners as has become the norm lately:-(

  1. The below findings might not be as applicable to androgenic alopecia (aka male pattern baldness — MPB) as they are to scarring and other forms of alopecia involving damaged hair follicles. However, there is still some potential that these findings and any new medication that arises from them will also benefit androgenic alopecia patients.  Dr. Garza rightfully warns MPB sufferers to not get their hopes up, but he has not entirely ruled out any benefit.
  2. Yes the work was largely done on mice.  Not worth repeating this in the comments if you make one.

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 in all likelihood among the ten 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.

Today, Dr. Garza and his team published an important article in the Cell Stem Cell Journal.  Basically 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 makes me happier):

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.

15 thoughts on “Dr. Luis Garza of Johns Hopkins University Publishes New Findings”

      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.

  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 where you got that comment’s content from. It was a very long comment. If you post under the right blog posts of the same subject, I almost always approve the posts.

      And also, when you post a comment, do not fill out the website address. Just leave it blank please.

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

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