Brief Items of Interest, April 2017

Hair loss news first:

— A great story on Dr. Rox Anderson that was also retweeted by PureTech CEO Daphne Zohar:

In the article, Mr. Anderson is praised by the famous hair loss researcher Dr. George Cotsarelis as being a modern day Dr. Benjamin Franklin. Several people that I highly respect have in the past recommended my reading Dr. Franklin’s autobiography, but the one time I tried, I fell asleep very soon after commencing. If I recall correctly, the English was a bit antiquated and difficult to comprehend in my edition.

— Of the numerous companies working on hair growth related products around the world, US based Samumed has been by far and away the best at getting coverage in major print and online publications. This month, they appeared in Business Insider. Dr. Osman Kibar, the CEO of Samumed, is a great poker player. I hope that he is not bluffing the world in real life too. Key quote:

The $12 billion valuation Samumed has right now is based on the $300 million it has raised over the years. The valuation grew based on its lead compound, with the rest of the pipeline thrown in as a “freebie,” Kibar said.

The Business Insider article became a very popular discussion topic on reddit with some interesting comments. Samumed also appeared in Forbes magazine yet again at the beginning of this month.

— Every 6 months or so, the highly unusual case study known as Mr. “Peter Renardo” posts updates in the comments in here. I still insist never ever even considering such an extreme artery ligature procedure, but do make sure to read Peter’s comments.

Topical Dutasteride would be something that I would seriously consider (h/t commentator “Hairplz”).

— Most people’s favorite hair loss researcher Dr. Takashi Tsuji recently came out with a new study/paper titled “Functional Hair Follicle Regeneration by the Rearrangement of Stem Cells”. However, it is in mice and perhaps not especially groundbreaking (see the 5 or so comments in here after “Paul Phoenix” ‘s comment with the study link in there from April 1 at 12:36 pm — you might see a different time in there depending on your location).

— As if it were not enough that hair loss is connected to higher rates of heart disease (“bing” it), it seems like grey hair might also be linked to higher rates of heart disease. Quote: “Atherosclerosis and hair greying occur through similar biological pathways”.

— When I read this article a week ago, I was certain that it was an exaggeration or a translation error. I contacted HairClone CEO Dr. Paul Kemp and he said that the company’s plans remain the same as outlined in his earlier comments on this blog from a few months ago. In any case, if you have any questions about HairClone, you can ask in the comments to this post and Dr. Kemp will come by and respond when he has some free time. Alternatively, you can ask in this thread on hairsite. And no, hair cloning is definitely not yet here in spite of flashy article titles.

Jason McAteer hair transplant.

And now on to medical items of interest:

— I covered the much hyped skin gun and its inventor Dr. Jörg Gerlach on this blog before (see 2011 video here). I was glad to read a new article on this as I thought that RenovaCare might have given up on this technology.

www.AcneCure2020.com anyone?

— Japan is becoming renowned for medical research, not surprising considering its aging population. A Japanese man recently became the first to receive “reprogrammed” stem cells from another person.

— After reading this post (and a few others on this blog), you might think that I am a very biased Japanophile. However, this is not true…and I had to insert that disclaimer before I included the following Japan focused thought here:

For many years, I have noticed that each time the oldest person in the world died, virtually half the time it was a Japanese person. Of course since birth certificates were nonexistent in most developing countries 100 plus years ago, these statistics are biased towards people from developed countries. Nevertheless, after the oldest person (who I covered on this blog in the past) in the world died yesterday, I went to the the wikipedia list of supercentenarians, and lo an behold, 5 of the oldest 10 people in the world at the moment are Japanese.

Interesting article on extending lifespan.

Update on developing pig organs for human transplants.

Half man, half machine.

— US and Chinese teams collaborate and expand stem cell abilities.

CRISPR gene editing to supercharge agriculture.

Follicum Phase I/IIa Results

I first covered Swedish company Follicum and its FOL-005 hair growth product in this post from almost exactly two years ago, followed by another post early last year. Thereafter, I have only covered the company in passing as part of my once a month “brief items of interest” posts, since most new developments were minor and related to country specific patents and so forth. My main reasons for following this company are due to the facts that they are conducting their research at the prestigious Charité Hospital in Berlin, Germany; they have an impressive group of hair loss related scientific advisers; and they have been providing fairly regular news updates.

Follicum 2016 Annual Report

Earlier today, a person by the name of “Rickard” e-mailed me and asked me to check out Follicum’s latest report (it was just a one sentence e-mail). When I then went to Follicum’s website, the news section had not been updated since last year, while the press release section had several updates from last week, one of which was the release of their annual 2016 report. Its in Swedish, but can be downloaded and then uploaded and translated via “Google Translate”. I learnt some interesting new things in the report:

  • Follicum was founded in 2011 based on research fron Lund University by Anna Hultgårdh Nilsson and Pontus Dunér.
  • The company’s technology entails isolating the protein osteopontin, which regulate hair growth.
  • “FOL-005 is a section of the protein, gathered in a small molecule (peptide) where two amino acids deleted and replaced by a third”.

Follicum Timeline

  • Company inception (2011).
  • Preliminary study on live mice (2012).
  • Study on human skin in vitro (2013).
  • Study on human skin transplanted to mice (2015).
  • Toxicity study for three months (2016).
  • Clinical Phase I study of subjects (implemented 2016-2017).
  • Clinical Phase IIa study – a limited effect on the study subjects in the phase I study (2017).

At first, I was not sure about writing a new post on Follicum just because of the above annual report…However, thanks to commentator “Hopeful” posting this new link, I realized that this was probably what “Rickard” was talking about earlier.

Follicum Clinical Study Shows 8 Percent Hair Growth

After translating this new link, it seems like Follicum’s FOL-005 resulted in an 8 percent increase in hair growth in patients treated at the Charité Hospital in Berlin in phase I/IIa clinical trials. CEO Jan Allenfal states that this compares favorably to existing treatments that results in a 4-14 percent average increase in hair count. With further testing and experimentation of dosage and composition, FOL-005 is likely to results in even superior results.

I think its great to get a third option to the two main current treatment options (Finasteride and Minoxidil). Even something new that only maintains existing hair would be very welcome (especially for those such as myself who are not keen to reduce their DHT levels for many years continuously via taking Finasteride).

However, will FOL-005 grow back hair in those who are already severely bald? Not likely.

A Hair Loss Blog