Los Angeles Times:
Probably the most promising recent discovery has been that of the role of a gene called "sonic hedgehog" in hair growth. The gene (which is indeed named after the Sega video game) is known to be vital to the development of organ systems in embryos. In adults, one of the few "organs" that continues growing and relying on the gene is hair.-e-mailed by Nikki (thanks!).
Curis Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company, is developing a drug based on this gene. The company has produced a small molecule that mimics the effects of sonic hedgehog and can penetrate the skin and home in on the follicle directly.
Last year, it presented findings at a meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology showing that the molecule causes mouse hair follicles to jump into action. First researchers shaved the mice, then they rubbed the molecule into the animals' skin. A thick patch of hair developed quickly — far faster than it would have naturally...