Luna Discovers Nanomedicine Prototype Affects Hair Growth
News Mar 26, 2008
Luna Innovations Incorporated has announced the discovery that a nanomedicine prototype aids in the growth of new hair follicles. Scientists at Luna’s nanoWorks Division in Danville, VA, have been developing a portfolio of new candidates based on antioxidant nanomaterials which could lead to a platform technology for treating a wide range of diseases.
“One of our new nanomedicine prototypes, after only two weeks of treatment, was found to increase the number of hair follicles fourfold in mice which are born genetically hairless,” said Robert Lenk, President of Luna’s nanoWorks Division.
Hair growth is a process that normally depends on the regeneration of tiny hair follicles. Hairless mice have a mutation that results in atrophy of hair follicles a few weeks after birth. The hair does not regenerate. The gene responsible for the mutation in the hairless mice has been identified, however the biological processes that cause the follicle to atrophy are not well understood.
Luna is working with scientists at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences to further pursue their discovery in the hope of identifying a therapeutic aide to potentially treat male pattern baldness. In addition to hair loss due to heredity, Luna’s discovery may also aid in hair regeneration for loss due to other medical conditions.
“What we have uncovered thus far is extremely exciting because it sheds new insights into the underlying processes responsible for keeping hair follicles healthy,” said Lenk. “We know that hair follicles cycle between growth and atrophy naturally. These new results reveal that the balance can be tipped towards promoting follicle growth in hairless mice. Our hope is this discovery may eventually translate into a new class of medicines promoting hair growth in people who are balding.”
Luna’s program in nanomedicine is focused on using proprietary antioxidant technology to identify therapeutic candidates that are targeted with nanometer-scale precision to sites where pathogenic free radicals are produced. Luna is developing a portfolio of new therapeutic candidates that may address a number of diseases which are caused by free radicals.
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.