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.
Interestingly, one of the three most important words used throughout the paper and of primary importance to us (“wounding” or “wound“) is missing from the above title, although not from the complementing photo (see red area in the image further below).
These scientists found that wounding triggers interleukin-1 (IL-1), which in turn activates certain immune cells (called γδT-cells or gamma delta cells). These immune cells then awaken resting stem cells in the hair follicle so that they can then “multiply and travel to the wound site to repair the injury”. For our purposes, the hair follicle stem cell activation is more important than any kind of wound repair (i.e., hair > scar improvement).
Commentator “Omg” who has posted some great material in recent weeks (including the above — thanks) wrote that this finding is the biggest discovery of the past decade. I am not so sure. Note that the authors of this latest work are not affiliated with Follica (the widely discussed company that is developing a “wounding + favorable compound injection” related procedure to regrow hair); nor are they affiliated with Dr. Rachita Dhurat, who has published several groundbreaking papers related to wounding and hair growth. Makes this discovery from an entirely different group all the more exciting, and further validates the potential of wounding spurred hair regrowth.
Nanogel Encapsulated Dermal Papilla 3D Spheroids and Hair Follicle Regeneration
I am not motivated enough to try to make the sci-hub site work to gain free access to this whole paper. I am, however, in no doubt that any new development related to 3D spheroids and hair culturing is of utmost importance and warrants coverage on this blog.
More Good News from Aclaris
In November, I discovered an interview in which Aclaris Therapeutics’ chief scientific officer mentioned that in the first half of 2018, Aclaris planned to commence phase 2 trials to treat androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss) with topical JAK inhibitors. This was a huge development, since we are used to virtually all companies in the hair loss world postponing or delaying clinical trials. In contrast, Aclaris is doing the opposite and moving to phase 2 trials without even having done phase 1 trials! They probably got to skip phase 1 trials because they have tested the same JAK inhibitors (including oral and topical versions) for other conditions.
Several weeks after I posted the above pleasing development, Aclaris announced at an investor conference that they would start the above trials at the end of the first quarter of next year (i.e, end of March 2018). Yet again they surprise us with their speed, and do not want to wait will June 2018. The announcement can be accessed by going to their website and finding their latest investor conference presentations (often available in both audio and slide formats).
Thanks to “Royaume” who listened to the whole audio for us (albeit misinterpreted its favorable implication). Commentator “Malcolm” even felt like I should have devoted a whole post to this news, but I did not want to do so less than a month after my prior post on Aclaris. Moreover, past experiences make me think that Aclaris will delay its trial commencement target dates (like all other companies seem to do), although I hope I am wrong.
And as if this was not enough, earlier today it was announced that Aclaris has received its first ever product approval by the FDA for the former’s ESKATA hydrogen peroxide topical solution (to treatment raised seborrheic keratoses). Funnily enough, Aclaris stock declined today despite this widely publicized good news. Thank goodness I never pursued part-time day trading.
“There’s a possibility… that [our] hair products could have an early launch in Japan. Our partner Shiseido is funding a clinical trial in Japan that’s expected to release clinical data next year. It’s entirely up to Shiseido what they do in regards to this product. There’s certainly a possibility that they could decide if the data is positive, to launch the product in Japan and that would trigger… milestone payments and sales royalty revenue”.
Other Items of Interest
— I saw a number of comments and received several e-mails regarding the Brotzu lotion. It seems like they updated their EU patent page and several Italian hair loss forum members are claiming that the product is coming out in early 2018. For the time being I will refrain from writing a post on this, as it seems like there is a lot of speculation going on.