Category Archives: Stem Cells

Stem Cell Research Related to Hair Finally Arrives in the Bahamas

This post was borne out of necessity just like the prior one due to: numerous mentions about this story in the comments to the last blog post; several e-mails to me about this development; and threads on all the hair loss forums about this news.

On this blog, I have in the past mentioned a few times how stem cell and other modern oftentimes untested medical procedures can take place rapidly in developing countries with lax to nonexistent (or easily pliable) regulations.  Recently, we saw an example of this when Liz Parrish decided to travel to Colombia for her gene therapy treatment.  While all of us keep talking about how great Japan’s new regulations will be for the advancement of regenerative medicine and stem cell treatments, we have forgotten to keep an eye on Central and South America (the Caribbean region in particular) where things will likely move even faster.

The Bahamas and Peter Nygard

In recent years, the Bahamas has become a significant area of interest when it comes to stem cell treatments.  I found the below somewhat cheesy Peter Nygard video from a few years ago interesting when I first saw it.  I finally have a reason to include it (keep reading after the video to know why):

The Bahamas, Okyanos and Favorable new Stem Cell Treatment Related Regulations

Okyanos Cell Therapy in the Bahamas is probably more reliable than Peter Nygard’s company.  Besides having a regularly updated blog, in 2015 Okyanos became the first company in the Bahamas to receive regulatory approval from the National Stem Cell Ethics Committee (NSEC) to provide adult stem cell therapy.  More here. Also see this latest piece on stem cell treatments in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas as a Secretive Tax Haven

This week’s biggest news story regarding “The Panama Papers” has also found a few cases of people with hidden funds in the Bahamas. In fact Investopedia’s list of top 10 Caribbean tax havens ranks the Bahamas as number 3.  If you have the money, it seems like anything is possible in the Bahamas.

Guns for Hire in the Bahamas

In fact the Bahamas has an extremely high homicide rate considering that it is home to less than 400,000 people.  Peter Nygard was even accused of hiring hitmen to get rid of a rival recently.


So why have I devoted space to all of the above, part of which reads like a gossip magazine column?  Well if you are a shady character or operate a shady company or deal with an untested and unproven technology that has no rigorous scientific backing, there is almost no place on earth where you would rather be than in the sunny Bahamas.

Lo and Behold

Lo and behold, today out of the blue came one of the most brazen announcements ever in the hair loss world (brazen because of the below quotes in blue).  UK based Thorn Medical plc announced the launch of a joint venture company called “Tricogeneca Limited”, with IK Clinics (also of the UK).  The new venture will provide stem cell treatments for baldness…. in the Bahamas of course.  The founder and director of IK Clinics is someone named Dr. Irum Khan.  On Thorn’s website, they discuss the Bahamas stem treatment approval for Thorn from March this year.

In the above linked press release, Thorn Medical’s accomplished CEO, the balding Jack Kaye, states: “We are delighted to establish this joint venture with Dr Khan. She has had great success in using stem cells for hair regrowth and we are keen to further promote this amazing breakthrough to make it available internationally, whilst carrying out further on-going development.

In that same press release, Dr. Khan states: “Our initial focus has been on treating men, where we’ve had a 100% success rate and we’re now refining our techniques for curing alopecia in women, which, although still at an early stage, has so far shown similar success.

Dr. Mahmood Bashir, who heads up Thorn Medical’s stem cell development and treatment efforts, said: “Although current techniques are still in their infancy, with only 10% of the new hair follicles cultured remaining alive, we can culture sufficient
quantities in the lab to provide a complete cure for male pattern baldness.”  [My note: Considering the number of totally unrelated businesses that Thorn Medical is involved in, I am amazed that they can culture hair follicles… something that numerous highly specialized scientists have failed to do reliably].

And for the icing on the cake, I defer back to Jack Kaye: “With our recent stem cell licence in the Bahamas and this new venture, male pattern baldness will soon be a thing of the past!

There you have it!  After all these decades of numerous super intelligent scientists working on a cure for hair loss around the world, we are finally home sweet home, four years earlier than I expected.

Dr. Irum Khan

Since Mr. Kaye stated that Dr. Irum Khan has had great success in using stem cells for hair regrowth, I went to her website.  Not a single mention of stem cells anywhere whatsoever on her site.  She offers scalp micro-pigmentation (SMP) treatments, hair transplants and medications, but no cell based treatments.  Her website has a menu titled as “Blog 2”, and clicking on that takes you a to a haphazardly created page on thread facelifts.  Clearly, her website would not be out of place in the Bahamas.  FYI: websites based in the Bahamas end in the extension .BS (I am very proud of finding that one)!  For non-English speakers, here is the meaning of BS.

On a positive side, Dr. Khan does seem like a nice person.

Back to Thorn Medical

It seems like Thorn Medical is very soon going to raise capital via a £350 million IPO.  According to another recent article, Mr. Kaye states that he expects the company’s value to double to £700 million by the end of the year.  So he thinks that his company’s partner has forever cured hair loss per his earlier quote, and he values the benefit of such a cure at around £350 million max over the course of this year?  My guess would be that it should be more like $35 billion, but I am no financial expert.

Back to the Bahamas

Joking and sarcasm aside, I guess it is great to have rogue nations such as the Bahamas where anyone can get away with anything when it comes to medical procedures (not so great for the initial scapegoat patients).  If you have the funds and the willpower, I suspect that you can single handedly influence national regulations in countries throughout the Caribbean.

One Reason Hair Thins is Because Some of it Turns into Skin

Update: A blog reader from Brazil sent me something very interesting yesterday.  Apparently, there was a study published less than two months ago that concluded that chronic inflammation was turning eye cells into skin cells!  Read more here.

Update: Below news now also covered in many other sources, including Time, Wired and of course the Daily Mail.

Today, the prestigious Science Magazine published two new studies related to hair loss and stem cells. They also had a brief summary on the link between aging, stem cells and alopecia, authored by Dr. Cheng-Ming Chuong from USC who I have mentioned on this blog before.  The studies were not widely covered in the general media.   In a rarity, the UK’s gossip rag Daily Mail seems to be sleeping when compared to its usually immediate and superb coverage or hair loss cure research and celebrity hair loss related news.  Another UK-based paper, The Guardian, did cover these two studies and a lot of people have already made mostly nonsensical comments to that article.  (Note that the author of this article seems to have typed COL17A1 as COL17AL, and some of the text in there seems like it was written by a non-scientist.  He also forgets to mention that one of the studies also entailed experiments in humans).

The first study (thanks to commentator “nosyu” for letting me know) from Japan has the somewhat difficult to understand title “Hair follicle aging is driven by transepidermal elimination of stem cells via COL17A1 proteolysis.”  For non-scientists, the contents of that study are not very easy to understand without spending some time googling the various technical terms listed in there.  However, an easier to understand article analyzing the above study’s findings concludes that “One reason your hair is thinning is because some of it turns into skin.”  The study also discusses shedding of epidermal keratinocytes from the skin surface.  A lot of people complain about dandruff, itching and dermatitis throughout their scalp while they are slowly balding, and I have had those problems many times in the past decade.  Nizoral and sunshine have both helped me tackle those problems, but I can never seem to go for more than a few days without at least some itching and skin shedding.  Note that a Japanese article on this study actually mentions the word “dandruff” in there when you translate to English.

The study authors found that hair follicles in women over age 55 were smaller and with lower levels of Collagen 17A1 (see more on COL17A1 here).  It is good to see a study that is devoted to female hair loss sufferers.  Moreover, one of the lead authors of the study is also a female by the name of Dr. Emi Nishimura.  The researchers also engineered mice to lack the COL17A1 gene, and found that these mice then had no follicle-generating cells.

The second study is titled “Foxc1 reinforces quiescence in self-renewing hair follicle stem cells.”  Foxc1 (also known as Forkhead box C1) belongs to the Forkhead family of proteins and transcription factors.  It seems like Foxc1 regulates the hair growth cycle, and perhaps manipulating this in future could prevent balding.