Technology

Hair Regeneration: AI Helps Design Baldness Treatment That Works Better Than Testosterone or Minoxidil

Microneedle Patches Restore Hair

Hair regrew thicker in mice treated with a manganese-nanozyme microneedle patch (right-side image, labeled MnMNP) compared to those treated with testosterone as a control (left-side image). Credit: Adapted from Nano Letters 2022, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c03119

Hair loss is undesirable for many men — and women — because one’s hairstyle is often closely tied to their sense of self-confidence. And while some embrace it, other people wish they could regrow their lost locks. Now, scientists have used artificial intelligence (AI) to predict compounds that could neutralize baldness-causing reactive oxygen species in the scalp. They selected the best candidate and constructed a proof-of-concept microneedle patch to show that it can effectively regenerate hair on mice. The study was recently published in ACS’ Nano Letters.

Most people with substantial hair loss have the condition androgenic alopecia. This is also known as male- or female-pattern baldness. In this condition, hair follicles can be damaged by androgens, inflammation, or an overabundance of reactive oxygen species, such as oxygen free radicals. When the levels of oxygen free radicals are too high, they can overwhelm the body’s antioxidant enzymes which typically keep them in check.

One of these enzymes is superoxide dismutase (SOD), and researchers have recently created SOD mimics called “nanozymes.” But so far, those that have been reported aren’t very good at removing oxygen free radicals. So, Lina Wang, Zhiling Zhu, and colleagues wanted to see whether machine learning, a form of AI, could help them design a better nanozyme for treating hair loss.

For potential nanozyme candidates, the researchers chose transition-metal thiophosphate compounds. They tested machine-learning models with 91 different transition-metal, phosphate, and sulfate combinations, and the techniques predicted that MnPS3 would have the most potent SOD-like ability. Next, MnPS3 nanosheets were synthesized through chemical vapor transport of manganese, red phosphorus, and sulfur powders. In initial tests with human skin fibroblast cells, the nanosheets significantly reduced the levels of reactive oxygen species without causing harm.

Based on these results, the team prepared MnPS3 microneedle patches and treated androgenic alopecia-affected mouse models with them. Within 13 days, the animals regenerated thicker hair strands that more densely covered their previously bald backsides than mice treated with testosterone or minoxidil. The researchers say that their study both produced a nanozyme treatment for regenerating hair, and indicated the potential for computer-based methods for use in the design of future nanozyme therapeutics.

Reference: “Machine Learning Guided Discovery of Superoxide Dismutase Nanozymes for Androgenetic Alopecia” by Chaohui Zhang, Yixin Yu, Shugao Shi, Manman Liang, Dongqin Yang, Ning Sui, William W. Yu, Lina Wang and Zhiling Zhu, 20 October 2022, Nano Letters.
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c03119

The authors of the study acknowledge funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province China.

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  • On one hand it sounds like great news for people suffering baldness. On the other hand, it now appears that in a scramble to develop and market commercial products to profit from the discovery it might discount the importance of fully addressing the underlying cause. To my senior lay American male experience, being "…damaged by androgens, inflammation, or an overabundance of reactive oxygen species…" not only affects the scalp but one's entire body. And, to focus on regrowing scalp hair may delay addressing the other issues from a 'prevention' perspective, with the underlying cause being acidic blood resultant of still medically and FDA ignored practically harmless individual brief and very, very mild (subclinical) food/additive allergy reactions turned long-term chronic in a number of ways, including being aggravated with FDA approved added 'cultured-free' MSG since 1980. Concurrent with mild symptoms of seemingly chronic and/or infectious diseases it can present more obviously/seriously as scalp hair loss, first, due to the naturally faster rate of growth of scalp hair than of all other bodily hair (e.g., blood supply/flow; to help protect the brain/skull from impacts?). More on the "About" page of my Odysee dot com/@charlesgshaver video channel.

    • ...in ten years, which is when all new discoveries and medical breakthroughs will be available to people. 20 years ago it was announced that a breakthrough in regrowing damaged or missing teeth had been achieved and it would be available in 10 years. 15 years ago a way to reverse hearing loss was discovered and it would also be ready for public use in 10 years. A breakthrough is and always will be available 10 years from the day you hear about it. If you are reading this article (for some odd reason), 5 years from now, you can be assured that this baldness treatment will in fact be available in 10 years. It will also be available in 10 years for those of you reading this 10 years from now. It's all part of the mysterious nature of quantum mechanics and the spooky action at a distance--a distance of 10 years of course.

  • Reply to H Erectus

    I totally agree with you.
    Furthermore, I think if it is too good and if it will affect Big Business then it will never see the light. Similarly for Dental treatments until greed and dishonesty come to an end.....

  • Awesome so you mean after I'm dead and my great grandchildren have kids, then it'll be available. Duhhhh

  • Lol, ok, in ten years. I wondered reading this why such a thing could only decide what was best for hair follicles on a person's head. Turns out that's unlikely. And I also wondered who exactly would get to use this really cool method of regrowing hair. Would it be only the ones with enough money to buy the whatever it is device or patch or something in a bottle like the miraculous cures we have today lining the shelves at hair dresser's parlors and Walmart? Then what would poor little me do if I wanted some and did not have the money to pay for it?

    Then it occurred to me that I'm nearly 70 years old and who on earth cares how much hair will grow from my head in ten years, or even mow? So I had a good laugh and well,I'm not waiting for my hair tobgrow, lol.

  • >female pattern baldness
    Way to plug in political correctness into men's health. There's no such thing as female pattern baldness

  • This is useless for most ppl that's reading this article in 10 years nobody cares ppl with hair skipped reading this ridiculous claim

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