Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Nucleic acid mediated inhibition of hair growth

Technology #1620

Hair removal products and methods for both cosmetic and therapeutic applications range from the old stand-by of shaving to new treatments, such as laser procedures, electrolysis and topical hair growth inhibitors. However, few products provide safe, easy, fast and painless long-term hair removal. As a result, the demand remains strong for new product innovations that promise more effective and efficient hair removal or hair growth elimination with a long-lasting effect, while eliminating common side effects, such as skin irritation and pain, associated with existing methods.

The Technology: Hair removal and hair growth elimination with nucleic acid target gene interference

This technology employs nucleic acid interference of specific target genes implicated in hair growth. The expression of these genes, desmoglein 4, nude and hairless, is inhibited by mRNA cleavage and/or translation repression, in order to stifle hair growth or remove hair. Catalytic nucleic acid constructs, both RNA- and DNA-based, for such interference-mediated inhibition are described, and compositions of carrier and vector containing these constructs have been prepared for use in humans and other mammals.


  • Topical hair growth inhibition and temporary or long-term hair removal in cosmetic applications
  • Treatment or prophylaxis of certain medical conditions, such as hypertrichosis, trachoma, and hirsutism
  • Can be efficiently utilized to remove hair from mammals whose hides will be used for leather


  • Can be applied to all human skin and hair types for hair removal
  • Method can readily be adapted to any of the various mammals having desmoglein4, nude, and/or hairless protein analogs
  • Achieves more specific, highly targeted, safe and painless hair removal than currently available methods
  • Flexibly provides both temporary and long-term hair removal methods through inhibition of hairless protein expression

Lead Inventor:

Angela Christiano, Ph.D.

Patent Information:

Patent Issued (US 8,946,402)

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