Updated on February 14, 2017
BiologicsMD Pipeline, Gray Hair Cure Research: Weekly Thoughts 4/30/16
It’s nice to be back here with you all for another installment of Weekly Thoughts. I’m personally excited about several items discussed in this edition. Let’s see what’s going on in the hair world this week.
BiologicsMD New Site Layout With Pipeline
BiologicsMD, a biotech startup which is affiliated with the University of Arkansas, has recently updated their website. An interesting change that I noticed was that the company seems to be marketing themselves mainly as a hair loss therapeutic developer now. There is also still mention of treatments for bone disorders. The new site layout depicts a pipeline chart which shows BMD-1141 as the lead drug candidate for the treatment of alopecia areata. ….Yes, there is also a candidate for androgenic alopecia titled BMD-1341 (hooray) and also another formulation for chemotherapy induced hair loss.
This would mean that there is yet another pharmaceutical grade topical in the works for the purpose of growing hair. We look forward to hearing about the progress of BiologicsMD’s hair therapy candidates which are mainly listed as being in the “formulation and topical efficacy testing” stage. You might also notice that BiologicsMD has linked to my first article about their patent for hair growth on their own website.
Pathway That Determines Hair Color Discovered
A new discovery coming out of NYU Langlone Medical Center has identified the EdnrB cellular pathway as having a major influence on skin and hair color outcomes. Senior investigator of the study, Dr. Mayumi Ito, had this to say about the research: “Our study results show that EdnrB signaling plays a critical role in growth and regeneration of certain pigmented skin and hair cells and that this pathway is dependent on a functioning Wnt pathway,” In further detail, it was discovered that the activity of melanocyte stem cells was controlled by the instructions given by the EdnrB pathway. The EdnrB pathway was also shown to rely on a functioning Wnt pathway for its own proper functioning. Good ole Wnt pathway, we hear about it all the time, but definitely wish we knew a little more.
More “Cure for Gray Hair” Talk
Speaking of hair pigment. I’m going to take this time to touch on other possible cures for gray hair that have been reported online. The most intriguing of them is probably a mysterious gray hair cure pill from L’Oreal. This article was published in 2014 and has the latest information that has been released on the subject. Apparently, L’Oreal has a pill in development that is based on a fruit enzyme that mimics the activity of TRP-2, which is an enzyme that helps create pigment producing melanocyte cells. So, by mimicking TRP-2, the pill is producing more pigment cells for the hair follicles and protecting them from gray hair. There are still some characteristics of this treatment that remain undetermined. One interesting tidbit that has been mentioned is this pill is aimed to be used as a preventative treatment before gray hair starts. This is because it’s not expected that the pill can reverse the graying process once it has started, according to Bruno Bernard, lead hair scientist at L’Oreal. It’s 2016 now, I wonder when we will hear from L’Oreal about this gray hair pill again.
The other major discovery related to hair pigment in the last several years would have to be the PC-KUS treatment developed by Karin Schallreuter MD of the Center for Skin Sciences at the University of Bradford, United Kingdom. This research was also done in conjunction with the E.M. Arndt University of Greifswald, Germany. Dr. Schallreuter and the research teams initially discovered that due to oxidative stress, hydrogen peroxide builds-up in hair follicles and eventually “bleaches” them. That finding compelled the researchers to develop a treatment that would eliminate the excess hydrogen peroxide build-up in the follicle. PC-KUS is a UVB-activated compound and stands for “PseudoCatalase-Karin U. Schallreuter.” Pseudocatalase is a modified form of catalase, which is an enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide in hair follicles, and Karin U. Schallreuter is the inventor of this form of pseudocatalase. To sum it up, by creating a synthetic form of the enzyme catalase, the research teams have created a treatment that can be applied topically to hair follicles to reverse graying. Once applied, the PC-KUS enzyme then can go eat away at the hydrogen peroxide present in hair follicles, which reverses the bleaching process.
Winston-Salem Startup to Manufacture Interesting Hair Care Ingredient
A hair care product company “Reason To Believe” (RTB) out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina has recently began its in-house manufacturing of a special patented protein to be used in its line of hair care products. The protein is known as Alpha Kertain 60ku and was originally developed by a local biotech company named Keranetics. Apparently, the protein is actually derived from human hair specimens. During its manufacturing process, bags of human hair are placed into tanks which create a centrifugal force. This causes a separation of the liquids and solids, which are then purified and further processed to create the AK60ku. The company speaks very highly of the capabilities of their technology (of course), and declares that their protein can “boosts the effectiveness of hair care products to repair hair damage in ways that are unparalleled in the industry today.” It sounds interesting, but so far the news is only addressing cosmetic/styling type hair products. So how is this news relevant to Follicle Thought?
According to this article, the protein Alpha Kertain 60ku was developed by Wake Forest University. I had a major “Aha” moment when I heard this news. It was last July when I wrote this article, explaining that Wake Forest University was recruiting for a clinical trial involving a “topical investigational medication” for male pattern hair loss. There were many guesses at the time from various people online as to which medication Wake Forest was possibly trialing. I didn’t feel confident in any of the guesses and noted in the article that the medicine could have been something developed in-house by Wake Forest. Although I cannot say I am certain now, I am very confident that the topical medication that was being trialed at Wake Forest University last July is directly related to this Alpha Kertain 60ku protein by Reason To Believe Company/Keranetics. If they had positive results in that hair growth trial, surely we will find out someday. Either way, the AK60ku hair care line does sound interesting to me and I’d be happy to try it. I hope to have a follow up on this news soon.