South Korean Scientists May Have Found a Breakthrough Cure for Baldness

Unsightly wigs and unreliable hair transplant surgeries may soon become a thing of the past for bald people as a team of researchers from Seoul, South Korea have reportedly found a potential drug that may finally regrow hair.

Findings detailed in the paper “Targeting of CXXC5 by a Competing Peptide Stimulates Hair Re-growth and Wound-Induced Hair Neogenesis” revealed that the scientists have developed a potential drug that targets the protein that blocks hair follicle growth. 

The study, conducted by scientists from Yonsei University with the financial backing of the Korean Ministry of Science, was published last month in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Korea Herald reports.

The research team has reportedly discovered “CXXC-type zinc finger protein 5”, a substance which “acts as negative regulator of the Wnt signaling pathway inside of a cell that is linked to follicle development and hair regeneration in adults,” the Ministry of Science and ICT said.

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As a solution, the scientists developed PTD-DBM, a biochemical substance which prevents CXXC from binding to the badness-causing protein.

“Disrupting the CXXC5-Dishevelled interaction with a competitor peptide activated the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and accelerated hair regrowth and wound-induced hair follicle neogenesis,” the research paper read.

“This newly developed substance is a first-in-class drug candidate,” Professor Kang-Yell Choi, who lead the research, was quoted as saying. “It is expected to become a treatment for not only hair loss and baldness but also for regenerating damaged skin tissue.”

The findings were a result of tests conducted on mice over a 28-day period, in which PTD-DBM successfully ignited the growth of new follicles. Combined with a chemical called valproic acid, hair was even found to grow at a faster rate in mice. Researchers believe that the discovery may lead to new forms of hair-loss treatments in the near future.

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Choi has clarified that their work is different from existing studies like MSD’s Propecia (finasteride), which simply slows down hair loss. At present, the available treatments are limited to growth acceleration and delay of hair loss, which are not applicable to subjects with no hair follicles left. Existing hair-loss treatments are also known to have side effects, such as impotence and abnormal ejaculation due to hormonal imbalances.

Feature image via Yonhap News/ Ministry of Science and ICT

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