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Topic Title: Introducing: Androgene - Genetic Testing For Finasteride Response And Hair Loss
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Created On: 09/25/2017 02:13 PM
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 09/25/2017 02:13 PM
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Moximus
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Posts: 287
Joined: 01/28/2008

Hey All,

This is a long spiel, if you don't like feel like reading hit up our site here Otherwise read on.

In this life we can become intimately tied to the problems we have ourselves. It's why we're all on this message board right now, to share our hair loss problem with like-minded people and to spur hope for some type of silver bullet cure to stop this shit. Because hair loss honestly sucks but I have always appreciated the high level of discussion that has gone on here and the amount of crowd sourced knowledge is honestly indispensable.

I personally have been suffering from male pattern baldness since I was 18. I have hated it the entire time and I don't know if that feeling will ever go away. I'm 32 now and I still look at my hair in every mirror I pass or in every picture taken of me. I delete all the pictures where my hair line looks terrible. I am constantly comparing my hair to others and am honestly jealous when those much older than me have better hair. The genetic hand I and many of us were dealt truly feels unfair. Yeah I know there are much worse things and much bigger problems in this world but this is something that affects me deeply for some reason. I wish I could "brush it off" or "forget about it and shave your head", but it really isn't that simple. It can be mentally draining to have such a negative self-image and just moving past it isn't as easy as it sounds no matter how many people or how many times I tell myself to just forget about it.

I have tried nearly everything over the years to combat this problem. finasteride and Dutasteride for over a decade, 5 or 6 different types of minoxidil, ketoconazole, buying chemicals from china, hair growth peptides - the list goes on. I have read hundreds, if not thousands of papers on the underlying biological causes of hair loss. I once tried an immunosuppressant drug called cyclosporine because a scientific paper had a very high number of its users grow hair back. Desperate times call for desperate measures right? Some of it may have worked but long term I still lost a lot of hair. I'm way more bald now then I was at 18 and I'd be lying if I said it didn't get easier. I mean it's more normal for a 30 year old to have hair loss then someone in their first year of college. Anyway you get the point, I hate hair loss and have tried many things to curb the problem over the years.

Why am I writing this? Because these are problems I have had and problems I see others having that I want to help solve. I am passionate about science and hair loss and I think I could help this community big time if given the chance. Sorry, I don't have the cure (yet!) but here are two problems I consistently see here that I think can be solved and soon.

1. Am I going bald?

It's pretty constant, new users popping up to get opinions on hair lines or crown thinning. Sometimes it's pretty obvious that male pattern baldness is afoot, often times they look like perfectly good hair lines. In all honesty it's hard to predict what will happen from pictures alone.

2. Should I take finasteride? Is finasteride working for me?


Success stories on here are truly inspiring; some people have grown thick heads of hair out of a thinning scalp. On the other hand for people like me this powerful drug did very little. How else will this drug affect us? These are questions that can be answered before you start them, not far after.

What tools do we have to answer these questions and why specifically can I help answer them? I fell in love with biology in part because of this message board and all the scientific papers people like Bryan would present and discuss. I also became enamored with genetics because I love breaking things down into their most basic parts. To this day it still blows my mind that a human is built out of a system of 4 different molecules, although there are 3 billion of them. After several degrees I landed working in clinical genetics and I currently help physicians find answers for many different types of genetic questions. The questions mostly resolve around finding disease causing mutations, whether they are well known causative mutations for a breast cancer patient to designing tests and panels for rare diseases. Most tests I work on are kind of simple though, fleshing out single genetic mutations that cause diseases. Hair loss is actually a super hard question so I brought on a PhD computational biologist to help with the crazy maths involved. The amount of genetic data that is being produced these days is massive, thousands of terabytes a day - this science is part of the "big data" revolution and humans are constantly improving how we use genetics to answer prognostic questions. We want to bring this science to the hair loss fight.

Finasteride Response Test

Quick disclaimer: We are not a clinical company nor are we currently FDA approved, if you have concerns about any drug you should speak with your physician.

If you've been here long enough you might remember the now defunct HairDx test. Well, we're bringing it back to life due to new research coming out. If you haven't heard of HairDx let me tell you a little about the test.

Your androgen receptor, on the X chromosome, has 2 polymorphic regions. One is a polyglutamine tract also known as a CAG repeat region and the other is a polyglycine tract, also known as a GGN repeat region.

Variations in the androgen receptor can affect how your body deals with androgens. Due to published studies we also know that this variation also plays a role in finasteride response. Some studies have also come out recently describing what type of long term side affects you may suffer from due to these repeat regions. We want to make that info available to anyone who might want it.

We know most people are fine with just hoping on this treatment. Or that many people get great results and never think about it again. Who is this test for? Probably first time users who may want to know their hair re-growth potential. Not everyone will have a great response to this drug, we want to help determine that before taking it for years.

This test is available right now, you can read more or order here


Baldness Prediction and More


Heads up: This part of our site is not functional yet, but should be in a few short weeks.

Baldness is highly heritable, it is often passed on from generation to generation and this means it has a strong genetic component. We mostly know this due to things such as twin studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14675213). Another indicator of baldness being highly heritable is extreme cases, adolescents who show signs male baldness have much higher rate of balding in their families than the general balding population (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22106721).

Do we know what genes are associated with male pattern baldness? It's taken a while but we're starting to learn a lot of the main players in hair loss genetics which is a very complex trait. We've learned it's not just one gene, but many. The way scientists do this is to look at the DNA of thousands of people who are bald and compare them to thousands of people that aren't bald. We can then see general trends in genetic changes. For instance you have a 2 times greater odds to be bald if you have an A rather than a T at the position rs1511061, a site near the androgen receptor. They've also found many other changes that are found more commonly in bald people, although some seem to only have a small effect. Using this data we can develop something called a "genetic risk score" which can be used in prediction models. This type of disease prediction has been used for things such as age related macular degeneration, coronary heart disease, and colorectal cancer among many others. If interested you can read more a little bit more here or reach out if you'd like some more scientific papers on the subject.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygenic_score

Scientists have also done this for male pattern baldness and I'm sure you can understand why it would be useful for our community, we have tons of young worried individuals here.

http://www.nature.com/ejhg/jou...full/ejhg2015220a.html

This test is not diagnostic. It doesn't (yet) have that power but we believe it will be a useful screening tool when used a long side other methods such as watching your damn hair line over time. In order to run this analysis on someone we obviously need genetic information and we've decided to use an already popular platform - 23andme data. But doesn't 23andme already do this? Sort of, they do look at some sites to tell you if your DNA is similar to those who are balding but we believe we can become much more accurate than they are in a few short months. We want to collate genetic data with de-identified hairline pictures along with family history to build more accurate models then 23andme can alone.

We also do a few other things that might be useful for someone thinking about taking up the hair loss fight, letting you know what popular treatments might work best for you, we have info on:

a) Finasteride SNPs - Everyone has enzymes that clear drugs out of their system and these enzymes can vary due to genetic changes. These enzymes are called cytochrome enzymes. We can tell you if these enzymes are clearing finasteride out of your system much faster than they should be!

b) Minoxidil response - In order for minoxidil to work it must go through a process called sulfonation. If minoxdil is not sulfonated, it will not be biologically active. A group of enzymes called sulfotransferases (SULTs) catalyze this reaction, and yes you guess it everyone can have variability in how well these enzymes work due to their genetics. We can tell you if you have normal enzyme activity or if your enzyme activity is 85% lower!

And the more information you give us if you use this analysis, like if finasteride and/or minoxidil are working for you, the better models we can make.

Cool, I don't need this stuff but neat work

Thanks. If you want to contribute to the fight but don't need any of what we offer you can always contribute by helping us do a study on family risk. The studies currently out there are few and far between. We hope to eventually give young males a better idea if they're going bald from looking at just their family alone.

Family History Survey

Thanks for reading, hit us up on here or our contact page if you have any questions, concerns or feedback. Cheers!

Edited: 09/25/2017 at 02:19 PM by Moximus
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