Follicept Update

I mentioned a new company called Follicept in my recent post on IGF-1.  Although I remain highly skeptical about this company’s product (as well as about the effectiveness of IGF-1 at giving more than minimal hair regrowth),  I am impressed with their staff (i.e., Devon Grimmé) and its pro-activeness on the hair loss forums and on youtube.  It seems like they will be providing weekly video updates and testing their gel product on fellow staff and family members.  The company’s CEO Dr. Stephen Hsu seems to be a very accomplished guy.

Most importantly, Follicept is part of Prometheon Pharma, which seems to have developed a technology that enables topical delivery of large molecule drugs without the need for injections. Perhaps the company’s superior delivery mechanism will lead to better results in comparison to past futile attempts at delivering IGF-1 to the scalp to improve hair growth?

The best part of this development is that this technology will not necessitate lengthy clinical trials since IGF-1 is already used worldwide. You can follow Follicept’s updates via their youtube channel (see first video below), or scroll down on Follicept’s  homepage (100s of comments on there, but sometimes the page does not load).

Theracell — Cell Based Hair Follicle Regeneration via 3D Culturing

A new player has entered the hair loss world by the name of Theracell.  Interestingly, the company is headquartered in the UK, but its laboratory is in Greece and its management team is entirely composed of people with Greek names.

More importantly, the management team is composed of very experienced PhDs.  Even more importantly, the team members with photos are all somewhat balding.  I tend to assume that balding people are usually more passionate about curing hair loss than are non-balding people, although that is of course not necessarily true.

Theracell is trying to regrow hair via cell-based hair regeneration. They state that they will isolate stem cells from 10-20 follicles and use 3-D culturing to increase their numbers significantly prior to injecting them into the scalp as pre-follicular units.  I wonder if their 3-D culturing method is similar to that developed by the renowned Colin Jahoda?

Although their cell-based hair regeneration page linked above did not specifically mention dermal papilla cells, the company is culturing dermal papilla cells per other parts of their website. They also list the name of their hair regeneration product as TC-RBD-5131, with “RBD” standing for Regenerative BioDermatology. The company is involved in a few other areas of medicine besides dermatology.

Perhaps I am being a bit too discerning, but on Theracell’s home page, I was quite surprised to see the word “Careers” in the top upper right spelled as “Carreers”.  Quite a few photos on the site are not loading, while there are various other typos and inconsistencies. I would not be surprised if the company currently has few employees and limited funding as is often the case with some of the newer companies that I have covered on this blog.

But I will repeat…..thankfully, the management team is balding!  It also seems like for a small country with just 11 million people, Greece is disproportionately represented in the hair transplant world.  There are quite a few hair transplant surgeons based in Greece, and the well known hair transplant behemoth DHI Global is headquartered in that country.

As an aside and totally off-topic (except a connection with Greece) conclusion to this post, I have always felt that people who have a lot of body hair, especially back hair, tend to go bald much faster than people without much body hair and have said so before on this blog. I reached that conclusion over a decade ago based on what I observed in my own extended family and from what I have since observed in gym and swimming pool changing rooms.  Of course there are always exceptions to this rule, but the correlation is very strong. Many Greeks/Persians/Armenians are known to be very hirsute when it comes to their body hair, yet balding on their scalps. I started to notice this phenomenon over a decade ago when I was an avid tennis fan and followed Andre Agassi (Persian ethnicity) and Pete Sampras (Greek ethnicity).  I am convinced that Pete Sampras has had a hair transplant since he retired.