Category Archives: Takashi Tsuji

Organ Technologies and RIKEN Update

A week ago, important news came out from Japan that the Organ Technologies and RIKEN team (led by Dr. Takashi Tsuji) partnership was making progress in its development of a cure for hair loss that they still aim for commercial release in 2020. The latest update mentions that the team has succeeded in creating equipment that “allows for more efficient mass production of such hair follicle cells”.

They will conduct safety trials on mice starting next month. If all goes well, human trials will commence next year. Since new Japanese laws related to clinical trials are aimed at speeding up the process, it is not out of the realm to aim for a 2020 product release. Especially since this autologous treatment entails using ones own cells (and multiplying them), implying less likelihood of major side effects. Key new quote from Dr. Tsuji:

“The latest results indicate that we have gone beyond the research stage. We will seek to industrialize a technology born in Japan.”

Not Impressed at Speed

A significant number of people posted links about this news; or e-mailed me about it; or criticized me about not covering it and instead focusing on hair systems and celebrity news (I deleted all insulting comments).

While I was very glad to read this positive update from the RIKEN team, I delayed this post primarily because I was not too impressed with the speed of progress in their research and trials. So I first chose to discuss the two new video updates in the previous two blog posts.

I thought that by now the Tsuji team must have already started work in humans. Clearly an incorrect assumption.

Edit: Thanks to “PinotQ” for pointing out the following paragraph from Organ Technology’s press release, which sounds like a big breakthrough:

“Previously, epithelial stem cells had not been identified, and it was known that the hair follicle regenerative capacity of cells disappears while cultured in vitro. However, we have overcome these problems with mouse and human cells after research activities over 7 years.”

Tsuji Still the Man

We have already known for several years that this RIKEN/Tsuji team aims to release their treatment in 2020. Both of my posts in 2016 that were related to this at-the-time groundbreaking news (see here and here) garnered around 300 comments each. At the time, there was justifiable reason for major excitement. This work represented the breakthrough that we had been awaiting for decades. Moreover, all four parties involved (Organ Technologies, Kyocera, RIKEN and Dr. Tsuji) have great reputations. Each brings unique strengths to the table. Most importantly, funding would never be an issue for this work due to involvement of large corporations as well as the Japanese government (via RIKEN).

Last year, I conducted a future hair loss treatment related poll on this blog. This work, led by Dr. Tsuji’s team, came in as the 2nd most looked forward to treatment that people were most optimistic about. I would definitely rank it as number 1 most important, as would numerous others on various hair loss forums out there.

Related Links

Brief Items of Interest, January 2018

Kerastem STYLE phase II clinical trial results update. Somewhat positive news of 17 percent increase in hair count at 6 months post-treatment. However, they only treated men in the early stages of hair loss (Norwood Scale I to III).

Regenerating one pigmented hair follicle
Single hair follicle regeneration in elderly man after wounding.

— 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.

— A potential improvement in current hair regeneration technology from Japan via self-sorted hair follicle germs (ssHFGs). I visualize an image of ant collaboration (which creeps me out a bit), each time I read that term. Dr. Junji Fukuda who I have covered on this blog before is a lead author. Update: A new article on this development came out on February 1, 2018.

— 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.

— Discussion about Donald Trumps’s hair never seems to get old when it comes to the major newspapers. I previously discussed Mr. Trump’s usage of Finasteride as well as a 10 page detailed article on his hair. Now come news that his daughter Ivanka has claimed that Donald Trump has had scalp reduction surgery.

Hair transplants could cure migraines in some per Turkish surgeon Dr. Safvet Ors. Actual study was published a few months ago despite major newspapers only covering the development more recently.

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.