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Superoxide dismutases are enzymes which destroy superoxide free radical ( O2- ), an important biological mediator. In many systems ( e.g., blood vessel dialatation, blood clotting, etc.), superoxide opposes the action of another ubiquitous messenger substance, nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is probably one "natural" form of the hair-growth stimulating drug minoxidil and a natural modulator of hair growth. Apparently, nitric oxide tells hair to start and keep growing, superoxide tells hair to stop growing and fall out.

Also, superoxide reacts with nitric oxide to form toxic products. These may be important in mediating parts of the immune response, as well as for tissue damage in a large number of diseases.
For example, Superoxide dismutase in its pharmaceutical form " Orgotein " is a potent antiinflammatory agent uner the trade name "Palosein". In the US, you can only get it if you are a dog or a horse, but it is an approved drug in most of the rest of the world.

Because of their effectiveness in the general treatment of inflammatory and degenerative diseases, researchers are constantly looking at SODases and related agents in experimental animal models of disease. In the course of such studies, researchers repeatedly rediscover that SODases stimulate hair growth and decrease hair loss.

This discovery is typically followed by a patent application. This is why there are several US and foreign patents on SODases for the treatment of hair loss. BTW, I accidentally discovered this effect of SOD in the late 1970's while doing research on diabetic rats at Bayor College of Medicine. Since I was first, I have the "prime patent". BTW, this patent took over a decade to issue.

With some exceptions, the patents listed below cover low molecular weight peptides which complex with copper or other metals to form superoxide dismutases. Again, because of the commercial possibilities, patenting, rather than publication, is the usual practice in this area.

Unfortunately, most medical reporters, doctors, etc. don't know to look at patents, which are the first place any drug developer looks. So, a lot of stuff goes unreported and unrecognized. You heard it here first.

You can be reasonably sure that any patented agent works, at least some. First, there is no point in going through the expense and hassle of a patent for something which doesn't work. If it doesn't work, nobody is going to infringe it.

Second, this is an area in which the patent offices demand extraordinary proof. For example, US patent examiners are given two examples of "incredible inventions "-- baldness cures and perpetual motion machines.

The Patents

1) Method for Stimulating Hair Growth using GLH-Cu Complexes., Picard, Loren, US Patent #5,117,061, assigned to Procyte Corporation, Pullman, Washinton.

2) GLH Pharmaceutical Compostitions and Compounds, US Pat# 5,214,032, Picard, L. to Procyte Corporation.

Note: This is the " Iamin " or " Tricomin " patent. I get a lot of questions about this compound, which the media does know. Lots of you have probably heard of it. Iamin is the Tripeptide Glycine-Histidine-Lysine complexed with a metal. Another name for it is "Liver Cell Growth Factor". It is a potent SODase. Procyte reports significant hair-growth stimulating ability in their animal and clinical trials. Like SODase itself, Iamin is a potent antiinflammatory agent.

3) His-Gly-Gly Peptide and Derivatives Thereof for Hair Growth. Kronholm et al, US Patent #5,252,559, to: Procter and Gamble Co.

Note: Ah-ha, the largest maker of hair care stuff in the world is getting into the act. Like Iamin, another metal- binding tripeptide with SODase activity. AKA " Copper- Binding Peptide ". The structure is Histidine-Glycine- Glycine.

An interesting patent to me personally: in patents #4 and 6 below, we claim basic metal-binding peptides as a class and give as one example His-gly " and the like ".Our US priority date is 1986, which antedates all the others.

4) Hair Growth Stimulation with Nitroxide and Other Radicals. EPO pat# 327263 B1., Proctor, P.

Note: All sorts of stuff. Basic peptides (e.g. Iamin ), SODases, nitroxide spintraps and spin labels, PBN, etc. acetylcysteine, radical scavengers, use of antiandrogens with hair growth stimulators, etc.,etc.. A " prime patent " which has caused several subsequent drug company patents to be rejected because of "prior art". Gives you some Idea of where our research was several years ago.

5) Topical TEMPO, Proctor, P. US pat# 5,352,442.

Note: Unlike the Europeans, the US patent office won't give prime patents in this area and is making us patent everything individually ( which is how P was able to step in ). This is the first US patent so far. Priority is what counts and we've sure got that.

TEMPO and related compounds are SODases, among other things. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute report that TEMPO and TEMPOL, also covered in this patent, prevent hair loss in radiation treatment. We incude TEMPO and TEMPOL in our formulations

6) Topical SOD for Treating Hair Loss,

Proctor, P. US Pat# 5,40,876

Abstract: SOD for treating hair loss is disclosed. The SOD has utility in a topical pharmaceutical formulation for the cosmetic treatment of hair loss and the cosmetic stimulation of hair growth. The SOD comprises copper salicylate, copper aspirinate, indomethacin copper, or a metal complex of an aminoacid and a transition metal.

This is the prime patent in this area. Even incorporates Trichomin, etc.

7) The most recent patent from the holder of the "Trichomin" patent.

Tissue Protective and Regenerative Compositions US Pat # 5,382,431 Issue Date: 1-17-95 Pickart; Loren R. Bellevue WA

8) I have been granted several more additional US patents for Nitrone and niroxide spin traps and spin labels. These agents are useful for a lot of other degenerative conditions besides balding, BTW.

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