Category Archives: Organ Technologies

Brief Items of Interest, September 2017

Hair loss news first:

Seems like all of a sudden, this became the month where important companies in the hair loss world updated their websites after a long time.

— Who else but “nasa_rs” notifying me that Aclaris Therapeutics finally updated their pipeline page. The most interesting part is that they now term their topical JAK inhibitor for androgenetic alopecia (AGA) as a “soft” JAK inhibitor (no surprise), and they term AGA as an “inflammatory” skin disorder. I have theorized for a while that perhaps people who have major itching and dandruff associated with their male pattern hair loss might be suffering from significant inflammation (and therefore, if topical covalently bound JAK inhibitors do work for AGA, perhaps they will help those with itchy scalps much more than those without). Aclaris has also started a CEO blog on its site, which hopefully gets updated more frequently.

— Perhaps of even more importance, Dr. Tsuji/Kyocera/RIKEN partner Organ Technologies also updated or renewed their website (h/t Fuji Maru Kagurazaka) recently. On their hair follicle regeneration page (after translation), they state:

“We are currently pursuing research and development with a view to clinical application of hair follicle regeneration as the world’s first organ regeneration in humans in 2018”

As an aside, whatever has happened to our invaluable Japanese correspondent/informant “nosyu”? Hope he comes back some day.

— Of least significance, but nevertheless worth mentioning, Follica finally added text to the bios of some of their new team members including Dr. Dhurat.

— I am always highly skeptical of newer smaller companies when we first hear about them. However, Rivertown Therapeutics has been a bit harder to ignore. According to a new interview with the company’s co-founder Dr. David Weinstein, their product is unlikely to come out before 2022. However, in spite of the somewhat disappointing news, I am impressed that Dr. Weinstein is keeping abreast of the latest developments in the hair loss world based on his mention of Dr. Lu Le’s work on Krox20 and his own work on the related transcription factor Oct6. What do the experts on here think about that portion of the interview?

— The same Ohio State University (OSU) doctor who amazed us recently with this unbelievable breakthrough from his lab is now making claims about hair regeneration from palm tocotrienol complex. I am highly skeptical, but still willing to keep a track of his work because of the OSU affiliation.

Dr. Koray Erdogan.

— Interesting article on the travails of hair loss in UK paper Mosaic.

— Androgens and androgen receptor action in skin and hair follicles.

— Topical tofacitinib possibly promoting hair growth via VEGF growth factor induction. This is the kind of research that keeps me interested in both JAK inhibitors and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

— Generation of iPS-derived model cells for analyses of hair shaft differentiation (h/t HLprevention).

And now on to medical items of interest:

China: pig to human organ transplants two years away.

Nanoparticle drug to turn bad white fat into good brown fat. I am thinking as my next project.

Bionic lens, superhuman threefold vision.

CRISPR changes flower color. Would be great to change untanned Donald Trump into a Sudanese African. That is my political input for the year.

Something better than CRISPR?

Coma communication.

Vaccine to prevent tooth decay.

Brief Items of Interest, September 2016

Few days later than usual, but lots of new developments in the past month.

Hair loss news first:

— The most important news is courtesy of HLT, which several days ago interviewed people from the Dr. Tsuji/RIKEN/Organ Technologies team (but not Dr. Tsuji himself). Interview publication has been delayed due to Japan’s “Respect for the Aged Day“, but according to the HLT admin, he has been given permission to divulge the following regarding the Tsuji team’s work:

“Human trials to begin 2018. Commercial availability still on track for 2020.”

While not surprising since this is an affirmation of what was said in July of this year, it will hopefully put many people’s minds at ease…at least till early next year:-)

— Thanks to who else but JAK superfan “nasa_rs” for letting us know that Aclaris Therapeutics updated its pipeline page and finally added its topical JAK inhibitor product (ATI-500003) for men with androgenetic alopecia (AGA).  Interestingly, all four of its JAK products are now shown to be 80 percent or so through the pre-clinical phase and are on the verge of entering Phase 1 trials. According to the pdf from the company’s September 14th webcast (see page 26), proof-of-concept (POC = Phase 1 and Phase IIA) trials for the company’s alopecia areata (AA) drugs will commence in the first and second quarter of 2017.  Considering that JAK inhibitors Ruxolitinib and Tofacitinib have already been FDA approved and in use for around 5-6 years, the big question is whether this will allow faster progression of Phase 1 clinical trials for Aclaris’ various JAK products?  According to wikipedia, there are currently seven other JAK inhibitors in clinical trials.

— Long-time perpetual disappointment Follica, which had earlier announced initiation of a registration study in the second half of 2016 has delayed plans till the first half of 2017 (thanks as always to “Mike G”, who sent me that link and has e-mailed me news about Follica many times in the past).  A recently announced best-case product release scenario of 2018 by Follica now sounds just as unlikely as hyper-prolific commentator “mjones” ever meeting with his hero and Follica founder Dr. George Cotsarelis:-(

— In my June “brief items of interest” blog post, I mentioned that Allergan had commenced phase 2A clinical trials for Setipiprant to treat androgenetic alopecia.  The company updated its clinical trial page again in August and many of their centers in the US are currently recruiting volunteers.  It seems like they will even pay you up to $650 for participating.

— Allergan also updated its Bimatoprost clinical trial page in August.  Study is expected to be completed very soon in October 2016.

Follicum updated its website regarding  the second part of their clinical phase I/IIa study for their FOL-005 hair loss product.  I like the fact that they are undertaking some of this work at the reputable Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin in Germany.  Follicum also sent out an e-mail to many people (one of whom was myself) and here is the gist of it:

“The study is divided in two parts, a single ascending dose part and a multiple dose part.  Multiple dosing has begun on healthy volunteers.  The study has now finalized recruiting volunteers and is fully recruited, it is being carried out in Germany at: Klinik für Dermatologie, Venerologie und Allergologie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.  As this is a regulated clinical trial results have to be published once the trial is completed and all the results have been analysed, which is estimated to be in January 2017.”

A conference on the Wnt signaling pathway ran from 14th-17th September in the Czech Republic.  Interestingly, Samumed was one of the main sponsors.  Of even more importance, it seems like Samumed made an extremely interesting and well received presentation at the 13th Medical Innovation Summit in London on September 17th 2016.  Why do I say that without seeing the actual presentation?  Because of numerous Tweets praising it…see this blog’s recent Twitter feed and thanks to commentator “Optimism” who notified me of the Twitter praise for Samumed’s presentation.

— The Follicle Thought blog had an extensive interview with HairCell CEO Howard Leonhardt.

— One of the commentators on this forum named “skin” has created a thread on his dermarolling treatment on the Bald Truth forums. He made some interesting comments in this old post of mine that are worth reading, especially if you are considering trying out dermarolling.

Lengthy article on hair loss, including some thoughts from Dr. Claire Higgins.

— Yet another study on the genetics behind hair loss.

Scalp micropigmentation video on Quartz.

Troy Hurtubise wants to cure hair loss.  This is about as far fetched as it will ever get in our already way-out-there hair loss cure world.

— Donald Trump lets Jimmy Fallon mess up his hair:

And now on to medical items of interest:

— Burned firefighter Pat Hardison continues to thrive one year after his face transplant.  Pretty amazing progression via monthly images in here.

— I have covered Zion Harvey 3 times on this blog now.  His 1-year post double hand transplant update video is below. Note that he has also had a kidney transplant and has prosthetic legs too:

— MIT scientist claims that his pill is the one when it comes to the fountain of youth.  Most important (and discouraging for us) quote:

“Guarente has been taking Basis for two years, but it’s a good bet that he is not among those who have observed hair growth as one of the pill’s effects.” 

— World’s formerly fattest man who lost 658 pound after gastric bypass surgery in 2010 will now get a second free surgery to remove excess skin.

— OxSyBio’s 3D “droplet printing” technology creates a tissue-like material that functions just like real cells.

— Embryos from skin cells instead of from eggs?  And of course artificial wombs. Would mean real freedom for both men and women.

Infertile mice give birth due to 3D printed ovaries.

Stem cell therapy restores arm and hand movement for a paralyzed man.

New drug to treat Alzheimer’s could be very effective.

—  Lysyl oxidase inhibition could eliminate scar formation.

Cold plasma to heal wounds.

— CRISPR’d vegetables are now here.

— With Japanese electronics behemoth Kyocera partnering with Tsuji/RIKEN and their cell based work, it is perhaps not surprising that in the US General Electric now aims to build a $1 billion business “offering vital manufacturing tools for a coming wave of cell therapies.

Manufacturing dopamine in the brain with gene therapy.

Dramatic advances in human-on-a-chip technology will likely lead to a significant reduction in animal testing.  As it is, we in the hair loss world have seen almost zero benefit from many decades of research on mice.  These chips are going to be a much better approximation of real human beings in comparison to mice it seems.