Organ Technologies and RIKEN Update

A week ago, important news came out from Japan that the Organ Technologies and RIKEN team (led by Dr. Takashi Tsuji) partnership was making progress in its development of a cure for hair loss that they still aim for commercial release in 2020. The latest update mentions that the team has succeeded in creating equipment that “allows for more efficient mass production of such hair follicle cells”.

They will conduct safety trials on mice starting next month. If all goes well, human trials will commence next year. Since new Japanese laws related to clinical trials are aimed at speeding up the process, it is not out of the realm to aim for a 2020 product release. Especially since this autologous treatment entails using ones own cells (and multiplying them), implying less likelihood of major side effects. Key new quote from Dr. Tsuji:

“The latest results indicate that we have gone beyond the research stage. We will seek to industrialize a technology born in Japan.”

Not Impressed at Speed

A significant number of people posted links about this news; or e-mailed me about it; or criticized me about not covering it and instead focusing on hair systems and celebrity news (I deleted all insulting comments).

While I was very glad to read this positive update from the RIKEN team, I delayed this post primarily because I was not too impressed with the speed of progress in their research and trials. So I first chose to discuss the two new video updates in the previous two blog posts.

I thought that by now the Tsuji team must have already started work in humans. Clearly an incorrect assumption.

Edit: Thanks to “PinotQ” for pointing out the following paragraph from Organ Technology’s press release, which sounds like a big breakthrough:

“Previously, epithelial stem cells had not been identified, and it was known that the hair follicle regenerative capacity of cells disappears while cultured in vitro. However, we have overcome these problems with mouse and human cells after research activities over 7 years.”

Tsuji Still the Man

We have already known for several years that this RIKEN/Tsuji team aims to release their treatment in 2020. Both of my posts in 2016 that were related to this at-the-time groundbreaking news (see here and here) garnered around 300 comments each. At the time, there was justifiable reason for major excitement. This work represented the breakthrough that we had been awaiting for decades. Moreover, all four parties involved (Organ Technologies, Kyocera, RIKEN and Dr. Tsuji) have great reputations. Each brings unique strengths to the table. Most importantly, funding would never be an issue for this work due to involvement of large corporations as well as the Japanese government (via RIKEN).

Last year, I conducted a future hair loss treatment related poll on this blog. This work, led by Dr. Tsuji’s team, came in as the 2nd most looked forward to treatment that people were most optimistic about. I would definitely rank it as number 1 most important, as would numerous others on various hair loss forums out there.

Related Links

Scott is Getting a Hair System

Start reading this post at the bottom under the “Background” heading; then move up to the Update 1 section; then to the Update 2 section.

Update 2: Scott has added his 4 week post hair system video. He also e-mailed me the following:

“So due to my heavy training program and the record-breaking heatwave we have had in the UK since I put this thing on, I did need that re-glue at week 4. I go in tomorrow. The total lifespan of the system is 7/8 weeks, but with my training and heat I might need the re-glue in between each at week 4, or maybe just for the summer months then in winter I go in only every 7/8 weeks. Not sure yet. As before, I included some training footage on the end, because it was how bad it looked on training footage that made we want the system. In this footage I have the hair :-)”

Scott’s 4 Weeks Post Hair System Video


Update 1: The after hair system video has now been added by Scott. What do you guys think? I was expecting his new hair to be combed backwards, but this works! Maybe some of us at HLC2020 will think that we can tell it is a hair system. However, Scott told us about it in advance and showed us his before hair system face and scalp, so we are a bit biased. Even with this past image of Scott ingrained in my brain, I thought that the rear, side and crown views in the after video looked entirely believable as being native hair. The frontal view was a bit suspicious due to the length of the hair.

I think people on the street probably won’t be able to tell, especially since Scott’s face looks like a younger (mid-20s) person’s face. So the lengthy floppy frontal hair does not look out of place.

Scott’s After Hair System Video

Background

For the past 5 months, one of this blog’s readers named “Scott” has regularly posted interesting comments. A majority of these have been useful and intelligent. I mention this fact because it allows me to trust him. Over the years, I have seen many crazy or fake or spamming or agenda-driven commentators whom I would never take seriously, but Scott is legitimate. He has always posted from one IP address and used one name in all his comments. Moreover, he uses his real e-mail address (only visible to me) while commenting, which is rare.

Scott is 36 years old and based in the UK near Manchester. He has had two hair transplants in the past. I am assuming neither were megasessions involving too many grafts, since he still has significant hair loss. Several weeks ago, Scott decided that he was finally going to get a men’s hair system and use it until a cure for hair loss finally arrives. I told him that if he sent me before and after photos, I would add them to a post on this blog. I did not really expect him to take up that offer, but he went one better! He created a before hair system video for this blog’s readers, and will post an after hair system video in several more weeks. I have embedded the before video at the bottom of this post.

In the past, when I conducted a poll on hair systems and hairpieces, 56 percent of voters said that they would never consider such a solution to their hair loss problem. A nevertheless respectable 26 percent said that they would definitely consider it, and 18 percent said that they might be open to the idea. The responses to Scott’s hair system plans from other commentators have followed a similar pattern, with far more on the skeptical side than on the positive side.

I can’t imagine that even a modern day high quality customized hair system will be able to continuously withstand Scott’s crazy outdoor parkour hobby. Especially when adding the weather and elements into the mix. Scott told me that he made the hair salon aware of his hobbies and asked if the hair system would come off during a back flip. They responded with a negative and said that even if he goes swimming, driving a convertible in the wind and so on, the piece will not come off his head.

Even if you hate the idea of hair systems and hairpieces, it is still worth watching the latter part of the below video to see Scott in action (FYI — he has had fibromyalgia for the past 7 years).

Scott’s Before Hair System Video

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