Earlier today, the Robb Report covered hair restoration in detail. On a somewhat related note, I have read some well researched hair loss articles during the past several weeks. The most important of these were in the Wall Street Journal and in Labiotech.
Stem Cell Hair Transplants
However, the Robb Report article stood out the most (see further below for my reasoning). It rightly promotes FUE hair transplants as the best current solution for androgenetic alopecia. See my post on FUE versus FUT hair transplants.
What really caught my eye is the below quote from renowned Bosley Medical director Dr. Ken Washenik. I have covered him many times on this blog in the past. It is rare for these well known hair industry experts to make predictions of under 5 years.
“Stem-cell hair transplants are in clinical studies, and Washenik suspects that they’ll be available in the UK and Japan by 2022 or 2023, based on their research progress.”
Note that these stem cell hair transplants are not the same as Dr. Gho’s totally different Hair Stem Cell transplantation (HST).
Hair Multiplication in Japan
I am guessing that Dr. Washenik is talking about Dr. Takashi Tsuji and the RIKEN/Organ Technologies/Kyocera partnership when it comes to the Japanese hair multiplication trials.
He could of course also be talking about Shiseido. Nevertheless, I will assume that Mr. Washenik reads this blog daily and knows which of the two Japanese entities is closer to the end goal :-)
Hair Cloning in the UK
What really made an impression on me is that Mr. Washenik mentions the UK. I am led to believe that he is talking about HairClone, a company that I covered in detail a number of times between 2016-2019. Of course he could also be covering some UK university research trials.
Update: On Twitter, Dr. Greg Williams made an important point about the Robb Report article. Specifically, in regards to the difference between stem cells and dermal papilla cells:
I have become less interested in HairClone during the past year. Myself and this blog’s impatient readers are not too interested in hair follicle banking related updates in 2020.
HairClone has always claimed that they are also working on hair cloning (or hair multiplication) as the long-term holy grail. However, I assumed that their research (in partnership with Dr. Claire Higgins’ team and others in the UK) was still in its early stages. I think they are yet to even start clinical trials, although I could be wrong per Dr. Washenik’s implication.
Hopefully, autologous stem cell hair transplant related clinical trials are allowed to proceed faster than normal in the UK. Or some stages can be skipped based on past research and trial work from the Higgins team.
More likely, Dr. Washenik is a little overoptimistic when it comes to the UK forecast. Just like Dr. George Cotsarelis was when it comes to the US.
Interestingly, Dr. Washenik mentions that the US had hair multiplication related clinical trials underway in the past, but none are currently ongoing. I hope that Stemson Therapeutics changes that soon.