Towards a molecular understanding of hair loss and its treatment

    July 2001 in “Trends in Molecular Medicine
    George Cotsarelis, Sarah E. Millar
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    TLDR Future hair loss treatments should aim to extend hair growth, reactivate resting follicles, reverse shrinkage, and possibly create new follicles, with gene therapy showing promise.
    In the 2001 review, Cotsarelis and Millar discussed the molecular basis of hair loss and the limited treatments available at the time, which did not target the underlying processes of abnormal hair follicle cycling and morphological changes. They reviewed the advances in understanding the molecules and pathways involved in hair follicle formation and cycling, and the development of new delivery techniques for molecules to hair follicles. The review highlighted the psychological impact of hair disorders and the large market for treatments, suggesting that future therapies should focus on extending the growth phase of hair, converting resting follicles to growth phase, reversing follicle shrinkage, and potentially creating new follicles. The authors also discussed gene therapy as a promising approach, with successful experiments in mice and the potential for targeting specific cell populations within the hair follicle. They emphasized the need for a deeper understanding of hair follicle biology and the use of computer models to predict treatment outcomes, viewing advances in gene therapy and other scientific developments as hopeful for creating effective hair loss therapies.
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