Introducing transit-amplifying cell (TAC)-derived progenitor cells in the anagen phase of hair follicle regrowth has seen success in animal trials, which would mean patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy would not lose as much hair, a National Taiwan University team has said, adding that a commercial product could be developed within a decade.
The research was first published in the scientific journal Cancer Research last year.
Follicles mobilize ectopic progenitors from genotoxicity-sensitive TAC compartments to accelerate regeneration and compensate for the severity of dystrophy induced by ionizing radiation, the paper said.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Science and Technology
However, how genotoxicity-induced hair follicle injury is repaired remains unclear and there is still no effective treatment for genotoxicity-induced hair loss, it said.
The paper noted that outer root sheath cells of hair follicles rapidly acquired a stem cell-like state in chemotherapy patients, which helped fuel hair follicle regeneration, supporting new cycles of hair follicle growth.
The proteins that pass signals into a cell through cell surface receptors were suppressed depending on the dosages given to chemotherapy patients.
Professor Lin Sung-jan (林頌然), one of the coauthors of the paper, said that this particular field could be commercially viable.
Animal testing using TAC-derived progenitor cells have already shown a 70 to 80 percent reduction in hair loss after chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Lin said, adding that the team is in talks with companies about collaborating to eventually conduct clinical trials on humans.
NTU Department of Biomedical Engineering professor Huang Wen-yen (黃文彥), another coauthor, said that similar attempts to prevent hair loss after chemotherapy were not only ineffective, but had side-effects, such as migraines.
The injection of ectopic progenitors yields significant results within five days and the team has yet to encounter any side-effects, Huang said.
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