Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hair Loss Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Experimental Gene Therapy Grows Hair

Thick Fur on Hairless Mice After Gene Therapy
By
WebMD Health News

Sept. 26, 2005 -- If you're hair-impaired, a new finding about mice offers hope for rejuvenating barren hair follicles.

The finding comes from the Johns Hopkins University lab of Catherine C. Thompson, PhD. Thompson and colleagues wondered exactly why mice lacking the Hairless gene are, well, hairless.

Their results point researchers toward a way to regenerate the hair follicles of men and women with alopecia.

A Tiny Organ

Hair follicles aren't normal skin cells. They're really tiny organs. And these tiny organs do one of the most amazing things any organ can do: they regenerate.

Hair cells grow hair, of course. But that's only one phase of their life cycle. Each follicle eventually withers down to a shadow of its former self. Then, somehow, stem cells inside the follicle come to life. The follicle regenerates and grows a new hair.

When something goes wrong with this process, hair thinning or baldness results. Researchers have a model for this: mice lacking the Hairless gene. At first, these mice grow normal-looking hair. But as their hair follicles cycle, the hairs fall out -- and don't grow back.

Thompson's team genetically engineered hairless mice to produce Hairless protein in specific cells within the hair follicle. The result: Mice that grew -- and kept growing -- thick fur.

The researchers showed that the Hairless gene only works when it gets the proper chemical signals at exactly the right time during the follicle cycle. Now researchers are one step closer to knowing what these signals are and when to give them.

Thompson and colleagues report their findings in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Today on WebMD

hair in hairbrush
Ways to go about it naturally.
Young woman with thick curly hair
Causes and solutions.
 
man with thinning hair
How to keep the hair you have.
Closeup of Hairbrush with Hair Loss
Understand the basics.
 
Mens Hair Loss When To Start Treatment
Article
A Dermatologist Talks About Hair Loss
Article
 
Rogaine And Propecia For Hair Loss
Article
Woman looking at thinning hair in hand mirror
Video
 
Balding man in mirror
Slideshow
Close up of comb in woman's hair
Quiz
 
Young woman with thick curly hair
Slideshow
hair problems
Slideshow