Category Archives: Fat Cells

Stromal Vascular Fraction Enhanced Adipose Transplant

I have covered the link between fat cells and hair cells a number of times on this blog in the past. In this post, I discuss Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) enhanced adipose transplantation for hair growth.

The regenerative action of SVF is largely attributed to its paracrine effect on neighboring cells via the secretion of various growth factors and cytokines. This includes adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ASCs).

Update: December 16, 2022 — A new study concludes that autologous stromal vascular fraction injection treatment of androgenic alopecia is effective.

Update: August 2021 — A South Korea study covered nine AGA patients who received one single transplantation of autologous SVF via injection. The results showed increased hair density and “keratin scores” after 6 months.

Update: December 2020 — A Turkish study on 20 patients concluded that SVF is an effective and safe treatment for AGA patients. The average patient saw an almost 25% increase in both hair count and hair thickness. Interestingly, the researchers also included dermapen wounding alongside the SVF treatment in order to boost regaional blood supply. Make sure to read my post on microneedling for hair growth.

Fat Cells and Scalp Hair Growth

  • In 2014, I discussed a newly published paper by Dr. Fiona Watt and various others that found a positive correlation between hair growth, adipocytes (fat cells) and epidermal Wnt/β-catenin signaling. One of their findings (albeit on a small sample size) was that “regions of hair loss were correlated with reduced adipocyte layer thickness in the samples we examined“.
  • Thereafter, in March 2015, I wrote about Dr. Valerie Horsley’s work related to fat cells and scalp hair.
  • In April 2015, I wrote a post on adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) and hair growth.
  • Also in April 2015, I wrote about Advanced Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Protein Extract (AAPE) and hair growth.
  • In July 2015, I wrote a post on an upcoming company named Kerastem that was working on using autologous fat graft enriched with adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs) in the treatment of early male pattern hair loss. Kerastem has become much more renowned since then, and has been conducting clinical trials under the acronym STYLE. These trials are supposed to be complete in September 2017, and the renowned Dr. Ken Washenik is actively involved. I have discussed Kerastem in several other post since 2015.
  • In my February 2017 brief items of interest post, I discussed the STRAAND clinical trials that will be completed in June 2018. These trials focus to on something called stromal vascular fraction (SVF), which is a type of adipose tissue, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

There are some significant differences between some of the above subject matters, but in the end, they all involve adipose tissue and hair growth.

A number of doctors around the world are now offering procedures where they inject adipose tissue into your scalp, often with the addition of growth factors and various stem cells. In most cases, these procedures are insufficiently tested and largely unproven.

I am skeptical about the potential of these treatments beyond making existing hair stronger and perhaps reversing very recent follicle miniaturization (in an absolute best case scenario). However, I remain open minded based on the assorted wide range of work from around the world related to fat cells and hair growth that is outlined in the earlier listed bullet point past posts of mine.

Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) Enhanced Adipose Transplantation

As several commentators have pointed out, this week fat cells and hair were in the news yet again. This time, the excitement was limited to UK newspapers due to some work in which locally based Dr. Edward Ball was involved (note that the actual study is here and the principal author is Dr. David Perez-Meza).

Update: It seems like this whole study is related to Kerastem’s Celution System technology (and Puregraft’s fat purification technology). See Kerastem CEO update here. Strange that both the UK newspaper stories (see bottom of this post) that covered this development do not even mention Kerastem.

Before and after image below from the Maitland Clinic per the two UK newspaper links further below:

Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) Adipose Hair Growth
Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) enhanced adipose fat cell transplantation for hair growth.

Basically, they conducted a small study in which they removed fat from six people’s stomachs, added stem cells to the fat, and then moved the resulting concoction to the same people’s scalps. They supposedly got great results. The procedure is described as “Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) Enhanced Adipose Transplantation”. Dr. Craig Ziering was also involved, and I have covered him on this blog several times in the past. I can’t think of many superficial things that I would love more in life then less stomach fat and more scalp hair:

Express article on moving fat cells from stomach to scalp.

The Sun article on moving fat cells from beer belly to scalp.

Note that there was another small-scale nine patient study done on SVF enhanced adipose transplantation in 2016 with a favorable conclusion. Two of the authors in that one were Dr. Ken Washenik and Dr. Eric Daniels (the latter also co-authored this latest study).

Kerastem: Adipose (Fat) Tissue and Hair Growth

Update: April 24, 2019 — Kerastem reported positive Phase II trial results for hair growth.

Update: Kerastem’s  website has been revamped and has before and after photos if you scroll down, as well as links to clinics outside the US (e.g., see Japan Kerastem Clinic) where the treatment is already available. Also, on July 28th 2015, the company obtained conditional FDA approval to commence phase II clinical trials.

On this blog, I have discussed the relationship between hair cells and fat cells numerous times.


One thing missing in the above three posts was a private sector company working on a cure for hair loss based on using adipose (fat) tissue. That wait has now come to an end. Last week, a relatively new San Diego based company named Kerastem Technologies submitted a request to commence STYLE clinical trials in order to:

“Evaluate the safety and feasibility of the Celution and Puregraft Systems in the processing and preparation of an autologous fat graft enriched with adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs) in the treatment of early alopecia androgenetica.”

The above link to the clinical trials page has a contact person’s e-mail address on there that I will not publish here. This contact person is Dr. Eric Daniels, Kerastem’s chief medical officer.

Note that adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are a subset of adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs).

FYI — A Kerastem company video is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Celution & Puregraft Systems

The Celution system is manufactured by a San Diego based company called Cytori Therapeutics. The US  FDA approved and EU CE-Marked Puregraft system was also developed by Cytori, but divested in 2013 to Bimini Technologies. I recommend watching the Puregraft video on youtube. I am now starting to look at my body fat in a less negative way. Maybe it will end up being more useful than I thought!

Ken Washenik is Involved

One of the world’s most renowned hair loss researchers (that I have covered a few times on this blog) Dr. Ken Washenik is involved in this clinical trial via being the principle investigator. This adds significant credence to these trials, although it should be noted that

Dr. Washenik has been overly optimistic about a hair loss cure in the past. For example, see my post on Aderans’ Failure or read some of the overly optimistic time-frame related quotes by him in this 2004 article.

Bimini, Puregraft & Kerastem

It should be noted that Bimini, Puregraft and Kerastem are all interlinked, with Bimini seemingly the holding company. The founder and CEO of Puregraft, Bradford Conlan, is also the CEO of Kerastem and Bimini per his current Linkedin profile. For our analysis purposes, these three companies are one and the same entity.

Dr. Eric Daniels and Dr. Craig Ziering

Earlier, I mentioned Kerastem’s chief medical Dr. Eric Daniels as the contact person for these trials. Further research on him led to my finding that he presented a paper titled “Hair Follicle Stimulation by Stromal Vascular Fraction Enhanced Adipose Transplantation” in 2014 at an International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics and Science (IFATS) Conference.

Although I could not find that paper online, google gave me a link to a thread where it says 40 percent hair regrowth per early results, It seems like Dr. Craig Ziering was another author of that same paper. So now I should take Dr. Ziering and his work on stem cells more seriously in spite of the recent issues with his website. I wonder if he already has access to the tried and tested Celution and Puregraft systems, giving him a leg up on other hair doctors offering early stem cell treatments?

San Diego, a Biotech Hub

San Diego has become a hotbed of global biotechnology related research, and the hair loss world is no exception. Kerastem is the fourth San Diego based company that is now listed in the worldwide listing of hair loss research centers on this site. The other three are Histogen, Samumed and Sanford-Burnham.


Per the comments to this post and on various hair loss forums, it seems like some people are overly pessimistic about the timeline for ADSC and ADRC type treatments. Surgeons around the world are already treating patients with ADSC, AAPE and PRP. This kind of treatment will not take too long to come to fruition.