— Reader “omg” posted an interesting link to a study from Taiwan with a great title: “Never too old to regenerate (hair)”. The researchers report on an 80 year old man who regrew 1 brand new pigmented black hair after scalp wounding due to excision of a basal cell carcinoma. Yet more evidence in support of wounding, the main idea behind the work of well known company Follica. The new (or regenerated old) hair remained black at the 42-month time of follow-up. I do not think the claim that the researchers make that this is the world’s first case of wounding led hair growth in human skin is true.
— Dr. Takashi Tsuji was back in the news a couple of weeks ago. He is leading a Japanese team that includes RIKEN researchers that will develop technology to analyze human health ramifications of changes in people’s hair shape and quality. According to Dr. Tsuji, some research indicates that certain changes in human hair components are unique to people with diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Perhaps in future one can detect cancer earlier depending on hair analysis.
— Topical Tofacitinib 2% ointment at least moderately effective in 3 of 10 patients suffering from alopecia areata. Dr. Brett King led the study. Hopefully, Aclaris will see better results for male pattern hair loss sufferers with their topical JAK product when it finally comes out. Fingers crossed.
Without any doubt, there has never been a better year than this one in the hair loss research world. The last four months have been especially fruitful, and I am not even considering a number of newer entrants in the field (just because most seem suspicious or are likely to produce best case results that will be akin to those from Rogaine). Key noteworthy recent developments:
First, in April, Follica (which had been left for dead by many due to its numerous conflicting signals since inception in 2006) surprised us and is clearly alive and aims to release its product in 2018 in a best case scenario. The company’s majority owner PureTech stated in a summary document that “skin disruption alone was safe and generates new follicles as well as new hair“.
Thereafter, in June, Aclaris Therapeutics’ CEO Mr. Neal Walker clearly stated at three difference investor presentation that “topical covalently bound highly selective JAK3 inhibitors” work in treating androgenetic alopecia and not just in treating alopecia areata. Alcaris will be conducting trials on this use of JAK inhibitors in 2017.
Also in June, Histogen made a surprising announcement that it would start treating patients in Mexico in 2018. Like Follica, many people had left Histogen for dead due to the fact that the company has been involved in hair loss research for a similarly lengthy period of time with mixed signals in terms of efficacy, clinical trial and product release dates.
Then, in July came perhaps the most exciting news ever in the hair loss cure research world. RIKEN/Dr. Takashi Tsuji, Kyocera and Organ Technologies have formed a partnership that aims to commercially release a product in 2020 that will essentially represent a cure for hair loss. 2020 is clearly a best case scenario assuming no major hiccups along the way. Mr. Tsuji is a world renowned and extremely well respected and modest scientist; RIKEN has access to Japanese government funds and to numerous leading scientists in the world of regenerative medicine; Kyocera is a private sector multinational behemoth with pre-existing hardware side technology and expertise that will likely be of much use to Dr. Tsuji.
And finally, today the Shiseido/Replicel team finally announced the commencement of delayed clinical trials in Japan (see bottom part of this post).
While doing research on KBIC, I found that it is located on Port Island in the city of Kobe, and Port Island is an artificially constructed island. Would be quite something if humans end up creating new replacement hair follicles on a man-made island.