Hair Loss and its Management in Children

Vibhu Mendiratta; Masarat Jabeen

Disclosures

Expert Rev Dermatol. 2011;6(6):581-590. 

In This Article

Five-year View

Recent advances in epithelial stem cell biology have led to successful isolation of hair follicle stem cells, which creates the opportunity to bioengineer hair follicles for the treatment of hair loss.

Utilizing effectiveness of alginate gel in cell implantation, microencapsulation of the hair follicle stem cells and dermal papilla cells can be implanted into the bald scalp of the patient. As both follicle stem cells and dermal papilla cells have strong proliferative capacity, the patient's own cells could be expanded considerably in vitro.[103–105] A genome-wide association study, which implicates T-cell and natural killer cell activation pathways, has opened the window for new approaches in future clinical trials of alopecia areata. Future treatment approaches for alopecia areata include use of drugs that block the NKGD-activating ligand and NKG2D receptor interaction, halt activated T cells, or modification of the inflammatory cytokine network (e.g., anti-CD25, anti-CTLA-4, Jak 1/2 inhibitor, anti-NKG2D, Syk inhibitor).[26]

Congenital alopecias remain a domain of orphan diseases with little to offer in terms of treatment except camouflage and wigs. Research to refine knowledge of genes controlling the differentiation of hair follicles is likely to develop treatment breakthroughs, such as gene therapy.

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