Category Archives: Adipose-Derived Stem Cells (ADSC)

AAPE — Advanced Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Protein Extract

I was originally planning to add the content of this related and important post within my prior post on adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs), but that post became too lengthy in and of itself.

One would assume that, typically, when a person wants to add ADSCs to his/her hair, the cells are originally taken from that person’s own body (e.g., from the abdomen where there are significant quantities of fat cells present). Such a procedure is considered to be an autologous transplantation that is in all likelihood safe, since one is essentially just moving one’s own cells from one area of the body to another.

In fact there are already many doctors and surgeons offering such a procedure. Note that some often use the terms adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction (SVF), which actually only contains anywhere from 2-10 percent adipose-derived stem cells. There might be legal issues in the US that make SVF less controversial (it is classified as a surgical procedure so escapes the jurisdiction of the FDA). The New England Center for Hair and The Phoenix Stem Cell Treatment Center are examples of places in the US offering SVF based stem cell treatment to regrow hair.


However, the two key Japanese studies that I mentioned in my prior post covered procedures that utilized a product called Advanced Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Protein Extract (AAPE), made by South Korean company called Prostemics. This is quite an important detail. For one, I was unaware that it would be possible to purchase such a product legally, since the AAPE product contains protein extracts derived from other people’s adipose cells. However, it seems like this is all legal and according to a quote from the above linked page:

In Japan, over 200 clinics are using AAPE with a clinical hair program for hair regrowth. The brand AAPE is approved by dermatologists and medical professionals from Korea, Japan and USA.

There are various places from which one can purchase AAPE (largely Asia based companies), but I would not trust this kind of experimentation unless a well known hair transplant surgeon is willing to buy this product and work with you. It also seems like some companies produce their own AAPE-type products too, but buyer beware and these products might be illegal to import in many parts of the world. I would certainly not risk using any of this stuff on myself for now.

Here is a video about AAPE (post continues below video):

ADSC versus AAPE

I would assume that results from actual entirely ADSC (so not counting the SVF method mentioned earlier) based autologous hair transplantation will be significantly superior to those from AAPE, but such entirely ADSC cell based procedures are probably not legal in the US at the moment. There are already surgeons and clinics outside the US doing such ADSC procedures. For example, Dr. Rhett Bosnich (who has clinics in Australia and Thailand) offers an “amplified PRP” procedure that includes a small amount of abdominal fat extraction. I think that a lot of doctors who offer PRP will also start adding some adipose-derived stem cells to their procedure. Also, in my March 9 blog post, I had a link to US-based Dr. Craig Ziering’s new “Stemulation” page on his UK website. That page has since been taken down, but I am now curious whether UK regulations are more favorable than US regulations for such procedures?

Who knows what all these guys really do once they extract your fat cells and put them into their centrifuge and final concoction Probably not worth paying much more than one pays for PRP for such procedures at the moment.

Addendum: I recently read an interesting comment that in an ironic reversal of history, the rich will finally start helping the poor by risking their lives first in the near future. How so? The rich will be the first ones who will be able to afford to buy expensive often experimental new anti-aging treatments and the like. Will we see the same in the hair loss world? i.e., rich people travelling to various countries for expensive possible risky unapproved cell based treatments to regrow hair? Then the poor will follow suit after a decade when the procedures become much cheaper and declared to be fully safe?

Adipose-Derived Stem Cells and Hair Growth

Stem Cells

The human stem cell is one of nature’s most impressive creations. These super building blocks of life can differentiate into various other specialized cells or into yet other identical stem cells.  If they remain in an undifferentiated state, stem cells still go through numerous cycles of cell division.

There are two main types of stem cells:

  1. Embryonic stem cells that are derived from human embryos.
  2. Adult stem cells that are derived from living adults.

The latter are significantly less controversial than the former when it comes to medical research.  Adult stem cells are further divided into three main types based on source:

  1. Bone Marrow (requiring extraction from a bone).
  2. Adipose Tissue (i.e., lipid or fat cells, requiring extraction via liposuction).
  3. Blood (requiring extraction via a blood draw).

Adipose-Derived Stem Cells (ADSCs) and Hair Growth

Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are the focus of this post, since they have been the subject of numerous research papers in the hair growth field.  One can find summaries of a multitude of papers related to ADSCs and hair on PubMed.

When I read it a year or two ago, I found this 2012 paper from Japan quite interesting and encouraging due to its findings that ADSC condition medium resulted in hair growth in all 25 test patients!

However, at the time, I assumed that these results were most likely just a modest improvement on those from PRP. Moreover, it seemed to me that Histogen was doing something similar to ADSC injections into human scalps, but in a considerably superior way (with access to far more funding) via its Hair Stimulating Complex.

However, Histogen’s progress has not moved along as fast as hoped, while PRP results are in all likelihood not as significant or consistent as those from ADSC injections based on more studies that I have read on ADSC in the past few months.  It also makes intuitive sense that stem cells would give better results than just plasma.

The latest of these studies just came out a week ago and is a must read.  This one is yet again from Japan, and a full version is available here.  Both this 2015 study and the one that I posted earlier in this post from 2012 have the same two lead authors:  Dr. Hirotaro Fukuoka and Dr. Hirotaka Suga.  These two doctors are conducting their work at the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Kyorin University in Tokyo, Japan.

The conclusion of this latest study is worth quoting:

Treatment using adipose-derived stem cell-conditioned medium appears highly effective for alopecia and may represent a new therapy for hair regeneration.

It is also interesting that ADSCs contain IGF-1, covered in my last post.  One more important quote related to growth factors:

Adipose-derived stem cell-conditioned medium is rich in growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, and insulin-like growth factor 1.