As if the great news from Aclaris earlier this month wasn’t enough, out of the blue we get three new positive developments from totally separate entities in the past week.
Yesterday, this blog’s unpaid but respected Japanese correspondent “nosyu” provided us with a link to a big news story that Shiseido was commencing clinical trials in Japan in partnership with Tokyo Medical University and Toho University. You can translate via Google Translate or via right clicking on your browser and selecting the “Translate to English” option. Update: Better summary from today’s Japan News. Seems like the trial will entail 60 men and women and go on for up to 3 years. Thanks for the link to commentator “SS”. Another new article estimates the cost of treatment to be around $900.
Shiseido’s technology is probably identical to what the original inventor Replicel is/was doing in terms of autologous cell culturing and transplantation using the permanent hair at the back of a balding person’s scalp. Perhaps Shiseido might have its own improvements to the Replicel process, but that is hard to tell at the moment. It seems like one set of injections will give lifelong results!
Note that Dr. Ryoji Tsuboi of Tokyo Medical University (who will lead the clinical research work there), is also co-president of next year’s 10th World Congress for Hair Research. So Shiseido is hiring very reputable people. This development is especially good news since Replicel’s stock price and previously strong social media responsiveness have both tanked in recent months (perhaps this newly published video with Replicel CEO Lee Buckler was not filmed too long ago and Replicel is still continuing work in the hair department). Thankfully, Shiseido (the world’s fifth largest cosmetics company) is not letting us down. Also see my post from 2014 on Japan’s new laws fast-tracking stem cell treatments.
To my utmost surprise, Histogen’s CEO Dr. Gail Naughton responded to some questions from HLT forum member “Tomtom21”. Over the years, I have become disenchanted with this company (despite my regular coverage of it on this blog) since it seems to have been in the news for at least ten years. Numerous presentations, successful funding rounds and much media attention have still not led anywhere insofar as treatment being made available anytime soon to the general public. Nevertheless, it is refreshing to see the CEO responding to people in person. I always found Ms. Naughton to be fairly genuine and sincere and hope that her company does end up like this.
Getting back to the subject matter of this news item, Dr. Naughton states that Histogen’s HSC treatment will be made available in Mexico first in 2018 (!) and they will soon be conducting a large-scale 330-person clinical trial in Mexico with a local partner. They are also close to getting a partner in China for what I assume will be human trials in that country. The company is also planning for Phase I trials in women and Phase II trials in men in the US soon. Dr. Naughton said that higher doses are more effective per Dr. Craig Ziering’s findings. Finally, the company will most likely get more funding from an Asian partner, and will also prepare for an initial public offering (IPO) thereafter.
Dr. Giovanni Brotzu
While all these new-age companies with their sizable funding rounds look into cellular biology, 81-year old Dr. Giovanni Brotzu is old school and prefers a topical product. I never wanted to cover this man’s work in the first place, but here I am mentioning him for a second time this year! Last week Dr. Brotzu gave a detailed interview to an Italian hair loss forum team. The big news is that there is an ongoing trial for 60 androgenetic alopecia patients. Virtually everything he says sounds reasonable to me, although I have done very little research on the accuracy of some of the more esoteric things that he mentions that I do not understand. HLT forum members for the most part seem to agree with my gut feelings too. He does make some excuses about the lack of photos.
Someone more motivated than myself can check out the Italian forum threads on this man and see if people over there are also optimistic. I like the fact that Dr. Brotzu openly and honestly states that his product will not help regain long-lost hair. Most likely, the best case scenario is that you will only regain what you lost in the past five years. Still a great potential solution for many younger people. Dr. Brotzu has a few patents to his name (the details for some of which include information on hair growth related applications).