Hairy Moles Could Hold the Key to Treating Baldness: Study Finds Molecule That Stimulates Hair Growth

Hairy Moles May Hold the Key to Fighting Hair Loss

Moles on the skin on which hair grows are an inconvenience to many, but in fact they can be a source of treatment for baldness and the fight against hair loss.

The Secret Molecule Found in Hairy Moles

According to a research team led by the University of California, Irvine, the secret lies in a molecule known as osteopontin, found in hairy moles.

In moles, osteopontin causes “dormant little hair follicles” to activate their stem cells to vigorously grow long, thick hair, Maxim Plekus, professor of cell and developmental biology at UCLA, explains in a press release.

Potential for Hair Growth Treatment

He added: “If osteopontin can make stem cells produce thicker hair on moles, why can’t it also be used to produce thicker, shinier strands of hair on the head?”

The study, published today in the journal Nature, describes the key role that osteopontin molecules play in stimulating hair growth within hairy nevi of the skin.

These skin nevi accumulate a large number of senescent melanocytes, but very strong hair growth is observed.

“Senogenous cells are generally considered detrimental to regeneration and are thought to stimulate the aging process as they accumulate in tissues throughout the body, but our study clearly shows that cellular aging has a positive side,” Plekus said.

Pleikos believes that osteopontin can be injected into the scalp of men and women suffering from baldness to awaken dormant hair follicles in a Botox-like treatment.

But this new anti-baldness technology, which has already been tested in mice and human skin samples, must first prove its effectiveness in human clinical trials due to begin this summer.

Osteopontin and Hair Growth

Osteopontin has been known for many years to play an important role in wound healing, tissue remodeling, and inhibition of bone mineralization, among other functions. But its role in hair growth was not known.

Current Treatments for Hair Loss

There are only a few approved treatments for hair loss called androgenetic alopecia, a condition that affects up to 50% of men and women.

Rogaine (minoxidil), propecia (finasteride), and aldactone (spironolactone) may help some people with this hair loss condition, but they are not effective for everyone.

Tackling hair loss has not been a priority for drug researchers, Pleikos said: “We don’t die from hair loss, so it’s underestimated.”

Potential Hair Loss Treatment Trials

A report by Business Insider indicates that Amplifica, the California-based biotech company founded by Pelicus, will be trialling a hair loss treatment inspired by facial hairy moles in a few weeks.

Although the company did not disclose details of the treatment, it likely involves a combination of osteopontin and some of the newly discovered hair growth proteins found by Plecus.


New York Post.

Brice Foster
With over a decade of experience, Brice Foster is an accomplished journalist and digital media expert. In addition to his Master's in Digital Media from UC Berkeley, he also holds a Bachelor's in Journalism from USC. Brice has spent the past five years writing for WS News Publishers on a variety of topics, including technology, business, and international affairs.

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