Hair Growth Stimulation

Invention Spotlight
June 12, 2017 By Wendy Wolfson

At a Glance

This cell and biological agent-based therapy stimulates faster new hair growth compared to conventional treatments.

Tech ID: 27606 

Hair Growth Stimulation, Therapy for Hair Loss

Assistant Professor Maksim Plikus, UCI School of Biological Sciences

Benefits

The opportunity to more effectively remedy conditions of excessive hair loss.

Technology Description

Abnormal human hair loss can result from dysfunction of the hair growth cycle. Current anti-hair loss treatments address only part of this cyclic process of follicle growth and periods of dormancy. Such treatments show slow and incomplete recovery from hair loss, particularly in advanced conditions. Meanwhile, the efficacy of new hair regeneration via stem cell therapy was never conclusively demonstrated in clinical settings.

Maksim Plikus and colleagues discovered that they could stimulate dormant hairs back into active growth by exposing them to a specialized type of pigmentproducing cell, or to the signaling molecules that this type of cell produces. This suggests that either transplanting cells into the skin or simply injecting their bioactive molecules would be sufficient to drive new hair growth on the scalp. The hair growth-inducing effect of pigment-producing cells can be spurred by other naturally-occurring cells derived from blood. Plikus and colleagues determined that a wide range of skin-specific cells can be coaxed to produce growth factors and that injecting a synthesized cocktail of signaling molecules into an area with dormant hairs in vivo in animal models could induce rapid new hair growth. Prospective plans involve testing these effects on human skin.

Suggested Use

Targeting a signaling pathway for naturally robust hair growth in humans presents a promising approach for treating hair loss conditions.

State of Development

Researchers have tested hair growth in vivo in several complementary animal models and verified that pigment-producing cells enhance hair growth.

Patent Status

Patent Pending

About the Lead Inventor

Maksim Plikus is Assistant Professor in the UCI Stem Cell Research Center. His laboratory studies how complex tissues and organs regenerate under normal conditions and in response to injury or disease. Plikus’ research focuses on the nature of stem cell regulatory networks and regenerative behavior in response to organ injury.

Licensing Officer: Casie Kelly, email: casie.kelly@uci.edu