Hair loss news first:
— The biggest news so far this month is Allergan’s purchase of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals yesterday. While Allergan is largely known for its blockbuster Botox product, for us hair loss sufferers, the company’s Bimatoprost product is is all we care about. While Kythera’s most well known product is its recently approved ATX-101 (brand name Kybella) china fat reducing topical product, for us hair loss sufferers, the company’s Setipiprant product is all we care about. Bimatoprost is essentially (but not exactly) a prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) analog and Setipiprant is a prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) antagonist. The latter holds far greater potential to be a cure for hair loss compared to the former. A combination treatment with the two drugs (i.e, increase PGE2 and decrease PGD2) has in the past been postulated to be the perfect treatment to regrow hair. I would urge all blog readers to listen to this encouraging audio segment on Setipiprant from an investor call earlier this year.
— An interesting article on a doctor in Texas using PRP with stem cells derived from a donor’s placenta to treat hair loss.
— The renowned Dr. John Cole is planning to do a major study on the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and is looking for volunteers. The PRP treatment will entail three sessions (once a month for three months) costing a total of $750, an absolute steal. Moreover, it seems like Dr. Cole will refund that $750 too if you show up for a follow-up 6-12 months after the first injection session. Dr. Cole will test many different treatment protocols, including using a variety of extracellular matrix (ECM) products and activation methods. PRP is still fairly new when it comes to the hair loss world, with many significant differences in methodology and ingredients existing between different doctors and hair transplant surgeons. Such a study needed to be done a few years ago. Better late then never of course. If you do volunteer for this study, please make sure you know exactly what Dr. Cole will inject into your scalp. He is very well respected and unlikely to do anything even remotely risky, but when you are injecting something into your scalp (or really anywhere into your body), it is best to be very cautious.
And now on to medical items of interest:
— A new study finds that keeping PGE2 levels high in mice by reducing 15-PGDH promotes tissue regeneration. It seemes like PGE2 has many benefits besides hair growth.
— A groundbreaking new $25 blood test called VirScan that can tell you every virus you have had. An average person has been exposed to 10 of the 206 known viruses that infect humans.
— A great article on the history of artificial hearts and continuing progress.
— An update on the patient who might get a full body transplant (always inaccurately referred to as a head transplant by the media).
— Since I already covered the above story several times this year, the one on a Chinese surgeon who has performed 1,000 head transplants in mice and plans to move on to monkeys next is more interesting, albeit revolting and slightly discouraging (the mice usually only survived for minutes, with the record being 10 days). The excellent WSJ article with a video on this requires a subscription, but if you google the article’s title, you will then be able to access it without a subscription. I did not realize the now obvious conclusion that a full body transplant would be revolutionary when it comes to most types of cancer treatment. However, even I (who has been accused numerous times on this blog of being too optimistic) do not foresee a successful long-lasting full body transplant in a human for many decades to come. Nevertheless, what an insane era we are living through.