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:
- Embryonic stem cells that are derived from human embryos.
- 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:
- Bone Marrow (requiring extraction from a bone).
- Adipose Tissue (i.e., lipid or fat cells, requiring extraction via liposuction).
- 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.