Brief Items of Interest, November 2017

Hair related updates at the bottom today.

— Last month, I decided to stop covering medical items of interest in my once a month “brief items of interest” posts. It was becoming a bit too much work to try to pick around 5-10 of the most interesting medical developments each month among the 100s out there.

Lo and behold comes today’s potentially blockbuster medical development regarding a subject matter that I have covered on this blog several times before: the world’s first ever head transplant (or more accurately, a “full body transplant” onto an existing “live” head). It seems like the world’s first successful head transplant ***albeit between two dead people*** has just taken place successfully in China under the supervision of Dr. Xiaoping Ren (with input from Dr. Sergio Canavero/aka Dr. Frankenstein), both of whom I have covered on this blog in the past. However, the procedure was undertaken between two cadavers (i.e., dead people) so is still not really a proper head transplant. Dr. Canavero claims that the transplantation of a live human’s head to a deceased human’s still working body (i.e., a true “full body” transplant) is now absolutely imminent. Lots of coverage about this in the media today and continued skepticism (but significantly less so than in the past). Is Dr. Canavero just in it for the fame or is he for real?

— Also, from the past two weeks, the first man to have his genes edited inside his body (US); and  successful skin epidermis replacement via gene modification (Germany). Both developments are major groundbreaking medical breakthroughs.

And in Hair Research Updates:

Excellent effort by “Hellouser” in his huge number of updates/threads from the recent World Congress for Hair Research. An absolute must read.

— Reader “omg” posted a very interesting link today to a paper co-authored by renowned hair loss researchers Dr. Neil Saddick and Dr. Valerie Callender and others titled “New Insight Into the Pathophysiology of Hair Loss Trigger a Paradigm Shift in the Treatment Approach“. Lots of discussion in there about the role of inflammation in hair loss. The whole paper can be downloaded from the above link.

— Latest Aclaris patent grants covering baricitinib, decernotinib, ruxolitinib, and tofacitinib. It seems like all four can end up being used for treating androgenetic alopecia, especially tofacitinib.

Dr. Rachita Dhurat is at it again. This time, her team makes the surprising conclusion that “A caffeine-based topical liquid should be considered as not inferior to minoxidil 5% solution in men with androgenetic alopecia“.

— Histogen and Dr. Gail Naughton covered in Allure Magazine. Key quote:

“The U.S. trials are planned to commence in 2018; we expect it to gain approval in Mexico first, perhaps in 2020, and then in the U.S. sometime after that”.

— UK male model Jeremy McConnell gets a hair transplant and beard transplant in Turkey.

Dr. Hasson Ditches Oral Finasteride and Switches to Topical

In 2014, I wrote a post on topical finasteride that has since became one of the most read posts on this blog ever. In hindsight, this is not surprising when considering the fact that I get emails about topical finasteride at least several times a month. People really want to ditch oral finasteride and switch to the topical version in order to reduce their chances of side effects.

Local compounding pharmacies in most cities will be able to make topical finasteride for you if you ask them. However, most of us are eagerly awaiting two thoroughly tested products that could be available for sale worldwide in the near future.

  1. The first of these two is Spanish (previously Swiss) company Polichem’s P-3074 product, which I have covered on this blog several times in the past. European Phase 3 clinical trials for P-3074 are almost completed, while US Phase 3 clinical trials are expected to be completed in May 2018. Moreover, in 2016, an Italian study found the product (when applied to the scalp twice per day) to have superior results to oral finasteride. Several other favorable studies from prior years have also been covered on this blog in the past. P-3074 is vehicled in Hydroxypropyl-Chitosan.
  2. The second of these two products is Canadian hair transplant clinic Hasson & Wong’s topical Finasteride, which is being manufactured in partnership with Italy’s Farmacia Parati. Without this partnership with a well known reputable pharmacy, I would have not put this product in the same category as Polichem’s product. The Hasson & Wong product is a liposomal formulation that has been modified via the attachment of silicone particles to the liposomes.

Perhaps a third company can develop nanoparticle based finasteride delivery in the future?

Dr. Hasson Provides an Update

Since 2014, Dr. Victor Hasson has provided this blog with regular updates about the status of his clinic’s topical finasteride (e.g., see here and here). While Canadian hair loss sufferers have been able to obtain the product from his clinic (and Europeans have been able to access the product via Farmacia Parati), people in other regions of the world including the US have had no such luck. There are a number of regulatory hurdles that Dr. Hasson has been trying to overcome in order to sell in the US.

Last week, Dr. Hasson called me out of the blue and mentioned some new developments, the gist of which are highlighted in the latest blog post on his website. I did not record his call, but below are some highlights that I recollect:

  • Dr. Hasson will answer any intelligent reader questions if you post them in the comments to this post.
  • Hasson & Wong will no longer prescribe oral finasteride and has entirely moved to topical finasteride as their latest blog post mentions.
  • Since February 2017, they have been using their third generation of topical finasteride.
  • Results from topical finasteride (based on analysis of around 800 patients in the Vancouver, BC area over the past several years) have been at least as good as those from oral finasteride.
  • Side effects from topical finasteride have so far been nonexistent.
  • The Hasson & Wong clinic will post a number of updates with patient photos related to this latest development on their website in the coming weeks.
  • US sales should finally become a reality in the near future as Dr. Hasson has selected some pharmacies in the US that will compound his proprietary product.
  • I asked about topical dutasteride (which interests me more than topical finasteride), and Dr. Hasson mentioned that this product is next in line. He talked about some scientific reason that makes the topical dutasteride molecule even more amenable to the scalp and scalp absorption than the topical finasteride molecule. I will ask him to elaborate in the comments to this post.
  • Dr. Hasson mentioned that it has been difficult for him to get his hands on sufficient quantities of dutasteride and therefore their research in that area has lagged. Results from topical dutasteride are superior to those from topical finasteride, as would be expected from what we know about the oral versions of both drugs.

A Hair Loss Blog