Hair Loss Cure Via Gene Editing

A professor from Hebei University of Science and Technology, Chunyu Han, has developed a potentially groundbreaking genome editing technology. The technology is similar in nature to the CRISPR-Cas9 method but uses DNA-guided genome editing instead of RNA-guided genome editing. Han’s work was published in the May 2nd edition of the Nature Biotechnology Journal and has received a lot of attention since then in the scientific community. The system devloped by Han uses Natronobacterium gregoryi Argonaute (NgAgo) to bind and interact with the DNA, creating breaks in the strands where desired. There are reportedly several advantages to Han’s ‘NgAGo’ compared to conventional gene editing methods, namely that it is does not pose a risk of causing cancer.

Chunyu Han, Man on a Mission

This article was published May 19th about Han’s technology, and of all things it touts Han’s NgAgo as a potential baldness cure…..Interesting. It’s not clear why the article has focused on hair growth as a target treatment for the technology, perhaps because that subject is a good attention-getter. Han was quoted in the article to say “With this technique, middle-aged men with bald heads can probably regain their hair through genetic repair,”. It all sounds very lovely, although is probably many years deep in development before we would see it in a clinic. I am interested to know more about Chunyu Han’s interest in hair growth technology, so I have reached out to him for further comment. Will follow up if anything comes from it.

Update: Since the time of the original publication, Nature Biotechnology has issued an editorial expression of concern regarding the reproducibility of Han’s results.

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