Scientist finds potential solution for baldness
August 7, 2008
By Ben Asher
Recent research on mice at the Stanford Center for Clinical Science Research is providing hope for balding humans everywhere.
Researchers suggest that a protein called Laminin-511 could be used to promote hair growth in humans. Thus far, it has shown good results when tested on mice, and Dr. Peter Marinkovich thinks it could become available for humans in just two years.
The Laminin-511 protein works at the boundary between the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin, transmitting signals between them. Laminin-511 is naturally found in both mice and humans, according to Marinkovich, who has been researching it since 2001.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s not really saving any lives or anything, but hair loss can be devastating to people, even traumatic. [Laminin-511] could improve the quality of life.”
Generally, drug research starts at the disease and moves towards a cure. However, Marinkovich started with the protein and started looking at which diseases it had an effect on.
“It was an accident,” he admitted.
The estimated two-year development time for Laminin-511 will involve petitioning the FDA to start clinical trials and planning a means of safely mass-producing the treatment for the public, Marinkovich said. If the FDA approves the treatment for humans, it could open the doors to further Laminin-related treatments for diseases.
Not only could a Laminin-511 injection help with balding in general, but it could also be helpful for patients dealing with cancer treatments.
“Chemo patients have the best chance of responding to Laminin-511,” Marinkovich said. Soon, for those fighting anything from chemo to male-pattern baldness, a full head of hair might be just an injection away.