MicroRNA (miRNA) and Hair Growth

A number of people asked me to write about microRNA (miRNA) and hair growth last year. The publication of a new study in 2021 now makes this subject more interesting to cover.

MicroRNA and Hair Growth

  • Last year I briefly mentioned a new study from scientists at North Carolina State University pertaining to dermal exosomes and microRNA (miRNA).

Per the findings, microRNA shows promise for hair regrowth. In particular, the scientists also studied microRNAs (miRNAs) in dermal exosomes from both the 2D and 3D dermal papilla cells.

The research team identified a particular miRNA called miR-218-5p as a key promoter of hair growth. Per team lead Dr. Ke Cheng, cell therapy with 3D cells based on this work could be an effective treatment for baldness. However, you have to grow, expand, preserve and inject such cells into the balding areas.

“MiRNAs, on the other hand, can be utilized in small molecule-based drugs. So potentially you could create a cream or lotion that has a similar effect with many fewer problems.”

  • In the latest January 2021 issue of Experimental and Molecular Pathology, a new study from China found yet another type of miRNA that impacts hair loss. In particular, the abnormal expression of miR-133b may inactivate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. This ultimately impacts hair growth patterns. Moreover, the androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can regulate miR-133b expression.

mRNA versus miRNA

Note that although closely related, messenger RNA (mRNA) is different from microRNA (miRNA).

Messenger RNA is a single-stranded molecule of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that corresponds to the genetic sequence of a gene. MicroRNA is a small non-coding RNA molecule that functions in RNA silencing and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression.

Also note the differences between RNA and DNA.

Faster mRNA based Hair Loss Research

During the past year, two mRNA based Covid-19 vaccines (from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) have been developed in record time.

Moreover, both groundbreaking vaccines have already been used in millions of humans worldwide as of January 2021. This is the first time in history that mRNA based vaccines have been used in human beings.

A lot of hair loss sufferers (including myself) are excited about the impact of this large-scale experiment. mRNA based clinical trials and research have witnessed a decade of progress in just one year due to these events and rapid emergency government approvals.

Perhaps all of this will boost mRNA (and miRNA) based clinical trials for hair loss related products and vaccines in the future.

Kintor Pharmaceutical from China

Kintor Pharmaceutical (China) just completed the enrollment of 120 patients in its Phase II clinical trials for Pyrilutamide for hair loss. See the bottom half of this post for my original discussion on Kintor. Their stock is traded on the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index.

Key quote from CEO Dr. Youzhi Tong:

“We will accelerate the progress of its phase II/III clinical study so as to bring benefits to the people suffering from alopecia as soon as possible.”

Kintor has moved forward with its trials faster than any other hair loss company. I am glad to see a Chinese company finally entering the hair loss cure market. Scientific and technological progress seem to happen faster in China than in the west. Hopefully, clinical trials for hair loss products will follow the same pattern. It seems like COVID-19 has not hurt Chinese scientific research progress. Or even their New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Side note: In July 2020, Kintor and Applied Biology (US) collaborated on using Proxalutamide for the Treatment of COVID-19. There is a school of thought that suggests anti-androgens could help reduce Coronavirus fatalities. To date, more men have died from the disease then have women.

Below is the pipeline from Kintor’s website:

Kintor Pharmaceutical Pyrilutamide Pipeline
Kintor Pharmaceutical Pyrilutamide Androgenetic Alopecia Pipeline.

May 26, 2020

A new Chinese company named Kintor Pharmaceutical is working on an interesting hair loss drug called Pyrilutamide . It is extremely rare to hear about any Chinese company involved in hair loss cure research. Very strange, considering the country’s rapid pace of scientific advancement and massive population. Moreover, Chinese men and women are nowadays balding at much faster rates than in the past.

Update: August 4, 2020 — Phase Ib trials are now complete.

Kintor Pharmaceutical and Hair Loss

Four days ago, China-based Kintor Pharmaceutical (also known as Suzhou Kintor Pharmaceuticals) got significant Chinese media coverage. This interest was related to the company’s prostate cancer, breast cancer and hair loss drugs.

Earlier this month, Kintor Pharmaceutical also had a very successful IPO in Hong Kong.

While the company’s main focus seems to be its prostate cancer and breast cancer drugs, its androgenetic alopecia drug trials are also advancing rapidly. Their main androgen receptor blocking drug candidate is called pyrilutamide (KX-826) and it is applied to the scalp topically. The company’s proxalutamide drug slows or stops cancer cell growth by entirely inhibiting androgens.

Make sure to also read my past post on androgen receptor destruction.

Also to be noted, Cassiopea’s Breezula is an AR antagonist that is ahead of Kintor when it comes to product release date.


The one disappointing news is that Kintor aims to take on Johnson & Johnson’s Minoxidil. This could mean that topical pyrilutamide is unlikely to be much better than Minoxidil. I hope I am wrong. Recently completed phase one trials in China proved that pyrilutamide is safe and causes no major side effects in humans.

Kintor is currently conducting phase 2 clinical trials for pyrilutamide on 160 men in China, and phase 1 trials on 30 men in the US. Phase 3 trials on 600 people in China, the US and Japan are planned for as soon as 2021. I would guess that the US FDA and Japanese PMDA will never accept Phase 2 results from China as any kind of proof to proceed to Phase 3 trials in the US and Japan.

So how can the company proceed so fast in the US and Japan?

Hair loss news blog. Hair cloning for baldness.