Scientists discover hair growth signaling molecule SCUBE3 as potential baldness cure
Scientists are gradually starting to uncover the mechanism behind male or female alopecia, and the search for a baldness cure saw two significant discoveries announced in just the past several weeks.
First was the kind of protein - TGF-beta - which manages both the cell division or apoptosis stages of hair follicles, and now a team from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has found the exact protein molecule that is tasked with signaling to those same follicles that a hair growth stage is now in order.
They called the "previously unknown signaling molecule that can drive excessive hair growth" SCUBE3, and tested their theory by injecting it into human scalp follicles transplanted on mice. The end result was that both the human and the mouse follicles surrounding the transplant area tissue started to grow new hair after the SCUBE3 treatment.
The results of the study, called "Hedgehog signaling reprograms hair follicle niche fibroblasts to a hyper-activated state," have been published in the Developmental Cell Journal. As per Maksim Plikus, Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine and a Professor of developmental and cell biology there, a co-author of the study:
At different times during the hair follicle life cycle, the very same dermal papilla cells can send signals that either keep follicles dormant or trigger new hair growth.
We revealed that the SCUBE3 signaling molecule, which dermal papilla cells produce naturally, is the messenger used to 'tell' the neighboring hair stem cells to start dividing, which heralds the onset of new hair growth...
Our test in the human hair transplant model validates the preclinical potential of SCUBE3.
A biotech firm - Amplifica Holdings Group Inc founded by Mr. Plikus - will continue the research into the clinical application and potential testing of the SCUBE3 protein treatment on human subjects, while the UCI has filed a patent application for the hair growth molecular compounds discovery of its researchers.