I was considering writing my final post of 2016 on things to look forward to in 2017. However, I felt it would be somewhat repetitive in nature. New announcements from any of the companies mentioned in the 5 bullet points in this post are the most important things to look out for in 2017 and I did not want to repeat that information here. Allergan and Samumed are also of significant interest to the hair loss world. Various other lesser known usually newer companies involved in clinical trials and/or new hair loss related drug development are also worth keeping an eye out for, although some are receiving a level of publicity way beyond what they currently warrant. e.g., this record 314 (and counting) page thread about a somewhat unproven product is insane. And finally, the 5-10 major regional and global hair and/or stem cell related conferences are always of interest every year including in 2017. We should all also be watching out for CRISPR and gene modification related conferences hereon.
But to end this year, I wanted to find something else to write about that was unique, not repetitive, and not too technical/scientific in nature. Something you can read on your phone screen on New Year’s Eve while drunk and out in the cold waiting for things to happen. After some consternation and difficulties in deciding on what to write about, lo and behold, Joe Tillman (formerly known as Jotronic) and Spencer Stevenson (more widely known as Spex) unknowingly came to the rescue. To learn more about both these hair legends, please read my original post on them.
Joe and his 25,000 Transplanted Hair Follicles
First, earlier today Joe Tillman released an excellent and very instructive video for those who are thinking of getting a hair transplant. I did not realize that he has had 25,000 (!) hair follicles moved from the back of his scalp to the front and crown of his scalp over the years (in 9 separate surgeries including one scar revision). Note that “follicles” is different from “follicular units” or “grafts”. Joe’s transformation has been very impressive and he is very honest about all the pros and cons of his “new” transplanted hair. I still cannot believe his before and after hair transplant transformation considering that his first two bad hair transplants occurred almost 24 years ago. FYI — click on the title of the below video to open in a separate page.
Spex Joins the Dutasteride Bandwagon
I have mentioned Spencer (Spex) a few times on this blog before. He has had around 10 (!) large and small hair transplants over the years and is featured in numerous newspaper stories about hair loss. I was very pleased to learn that he very recently started using Dutasteride to treat his hair loss. He is documenting his results with photos here.
I have discussed Dutasteride (original brand name = Avodart) numerous times on this blog. It is basically Finasteride (original brand name = Propecia) on steroids. More benefits as well as more side effects than Finasteride. There are quite a few internet testimonials that you can find of old men who got on Dutasteride (to treat enlarged prostates) and saw hair growing on parts of their scalp that were bald for decades (something that is extremely hard to do). You can also read about some great positive results (as well as failures) of using Dutasteride to treat hair loss in the comments to this post.
When Dutasteride (Avodart) first came out onto the market in 2002 (after FDA approval at the end of 2001), hair loss forum members all over the world were going berserk with excitement. I miss those days when it seem liked Dutasteride was the ultimate cure for hair loss and everyone was counting the days till the pending product release with extreme levels of hope and hysteria. Unfortunately, the drug was not a miracle for most people who already had significant hair loss.
So instead of hairlosscure2002.com, here I am talking about hairlosscure2020.com 🙁
There have been a huge amount of hair loss related news items of interest in the past month. Several of them probably deserved their own blog posts.
— I did not realize that GSK was launching Dutasteride in Japan via the brand name Zagallo (to treat male pattern hair loss) and that this plan was delayed in late 2015. I did, however, cover the favorable Japanese clinical trial results last year that are mentioned in that first link. Now comes word that Catalent’s French plant has been cleared to restart production. So there is a very high chance that Dutasteride will finally be approved to treat hair loss in 2016 (one year later than I was hoping), 14 years after being approved to treat enlarged prostates in men. (Edit: in fact the drug was already approved for hair loss treatment in Japan on September 28th 2015, and even approved in South Korea around 2010! Hopefully the US and EU will finally follow suit in 2016.). It would be the third ever drug to be approved to treat hair loss, almost 20 years after the second one (Finasteride/Propecia) was approved and almost 30 years after the first one (Minoxidil/Rogaine) was approved. Make sure to read the Dutasteride testimonials post and related comments. FYI — If you are worried about Finasteride (Propecia) side effects, do not even consider taking Dutasteride. The side effects from the latter are guaranteed to be worse for most people.
— Since quite a few of the reader comments to my past few posts have mentioned Kerastem, I am giving high importance to Christopher1’s thread on hairsite regarding his Kerastem treatment in Switzerland. He had the treatment in early February of this year for $8,000. Unlike his well covered failed experiment with topical JAK inhibitor tofactinib, this time he went to a professional clinic (more reliable in my opinion) to get the Kerastem treatment. Per his latest post from three days ago (which has surprisingly still not received any replies), he has good news to share and I quote: “After having brought you some bad news about my Jak inhibitor trial, I finally have some good news for you. It’s not great, but it’s very good. My hair has stopped falling out. It stopped about three weeks ago, which was a bit over 2 months after my Kerastem treatment.” Note that this is only one data point and there has been no regrowth and we do not know how long this cessation in hair loss will last. The rest of his post indicates that this is the first time in 15 years that his hair has stopped falling out. I find Chrisopher1 to be a highly reliable and sincere person, or else I would not mention him to start off a blog post.
— A new paper from China titled “Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway activates melanocyte stem cells in vitro and in vivo.” Research was done in mice.
— An update on research at Japan’s Yokohama University under the leadership of Dr. Junji Fukuda. Translation required, and yes, it is in mice only for now. Short interview with Dr. Fukuda in there that is partially lost in translation. Thanks yet again to our wonderful Japanese blog reader and commentator “nosyu” who updates me regularly about developments in Japan that are not covered by the English media. The Fukuda Lab lists hair regrowth as one of its key areas of research.
— Topical methyl vanillate (a plant derived natural ingredient) increases hair count and hair mass index by inducing Wnt10b mRNA expression in the scalp. According to the study, methyl vanillate has recently been shown to activate the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, which has become a key target in the treatment of androgenic alopecia by numerous researchers in recent years.
— I am always impressed by hair loss sufferers who go through impressive regimens and post regular updates. The latest example is “westonci” on HLT who is supposedly going through the whole of SwissTemple’s prostaglandin protocol that I have mentioned on this blog several times before.
— Japan OK’s gene editing of eggs. As long-time blog readers know, the Japanese have already fast tracked clinical trials for newer regenerative medicine and stem cell treatments, and earlier in this post I mentioned that Japan could be the first country to approve Dutasteride for hair loss treatment. Everything is moving along fast over there and I am glad that we have both Shiseido and Dr. Takashi Tsuji based in that country.
— As expected, the first ever penis transplant in the US got widespread global news coverage yesterday. I first heard about it via the radio in my car yesterday, then via a text message from a friend (wonder why?), and then again today via my yahoo homepage. Bill Gates must be horrified at global priorities.
— Now just imagine if this really happens in 2017? I doubt it, but it would be absolutely ridiculous if that came to fruition before a hair loss cure.