Luna Innovations Incorporated announced today 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.
"This is an example of how Luna's innovative business model can help to identify candidates for potential products that we hope will some day improve people's lives," said Kent Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Luna Innovations. "The discovery that Luna's nanomedicine candidate can potentially promote hair growth, an unexpected result of other research being performed at Luna, indicates that hair follicle atrophy can be reversed. We believe this may be the beginning of a generation of nanomedicines aimed at changing outcomes in intractable diseases."