Developing new hair growth agents
Conventionally, hair growth agents are developed by comparing the effects of different active compounds on the growth, gene expression, and other characteristics of the cells that compose the hair follicle. However, these cell- and gene-level in vitro evaluation models seldom completely capture organism-level effects: drugs viewed as promising often fail to induce hair growth when tested on human scalp. Even in vivo scalp testing methods are constrained by the limited number of candidates that can be screened at once. All these limitations have long frustrated the development of hair growth agents. We have developed a mouse evaluation model using our unique follicle regeneration technology, in which the speed and length of hair growth are enhanced. This model allows users to scientifically determine the efficacy of candidate drugs by enabling quantitative measurements of their effects on living skin and clarifying the mechanisms of action of active compounds.
Developing new functional hair-care agents based on the study of hair texture
We are also doing basic research on not only the appearance of hair, but also its internal structure, and the configuration of cells in follicles before it starts to grow. Through this scientific approach, we continue to make new discoveries about how hair texture changes are governed by changes in substructures such as the cortex and medulla. Gaining a deep understanding of the process in model mice grants quantitative insight into how hair texture changes in humans as we age. This quantitative approach to screening drugs to slow or halt the deterioration process is a breakthrough model in the search and development of next-generation agents that are perhaps capable of total prevention.