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New Study Identifies The Role Of A Key Growth Factor In Promoting Formation Of Hair Follicles And Suggests A New Therapeutic Approach To Treat Baldnes

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Technology exclusively licensed by Follica Inc. from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has been used to demonstrate a new approach to regenerate hair follicles in adult mammals which could be used therapeutically in humans.

The paper describing the data was published advanced online in Nature Medicine.

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The paper's principal investigator, George Cotsarelis , MD, chair of Dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and collaborators discovered that fibroblast growth factor 9 (Fgf9), a protein produced by a population of cells of the immune system in the skin, is critical for the formation of new hair follicles after disruption of the skin.

The findings illuminate a molecular mechanism to regenerate hair follicles that could enable new treatments for hair loss.

The authors first showed that Fgf9 is up-regulated in the dermis immediately before new hair follicle structures start to appear. Reducing Fgf9 expression decreased hair follicle formation, while overexpressing Fgf9 led to two to three-fold increase in the number of new hair follicles.

The study supports the notion that disruption of the skin produces a window of opportunity during which the cells in the regenerating epidermis can be pushed towards becoming a hair follicle, and highlights the potential for using Fgf9 therapeutically to boost the formation of new hair follicles during this window.

"This discovery sheds light on a novel mechanism to regenerate hair follicles and opens an exciting new avenue to develop treatments for hair loss in humans," noted Dr. William Ju of Follica, Inc. "Follica has developed a technology platform that is uniquely suited to support clinical translation of these new findings.

The Follica platform can be used to induce skin reepithelialization, which creates a "window of opportunity" during which the Fgf9 pathway could be modulated to potentiate hair neogenesis."

Follica has conducted preclinical testing of proprietary device configurations for skin disruption in combination with a number of known and novel drugs.

 

Complete hair loss article

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