Category Archives: Yokohama National University

Large-Scale Production of Hair Follicle Germs for Regenerative Medicine

I have covered Dr. Junji Fukuda and his important hair related work at Yokohama National University in Japan several times on this blog in the past. Most recently, this was just two weeks ago in relation to his latest paper titled “Spontaneous hair follicle germ (HFG) formation in vitro, enabling the large-scale production of HFGs for regenerative medicine“, which was published towards the end of 2017, but seems to now be dated as 2018.

Hair Follicle Germs (HFGs) PreparationAt the time, I decided that this development was only worth a cursory mention in my once a month “brief items of interest” post. My decision was clouded by the fact that this research only entailed work on mice (see bottom part of image on left, courtesy Yokohama National University). We are all a bit bored/tired/frustrated with that of course.

However, earlier today, Dr. Fukuda and his team’s work was covered in the Science Daily publication. Key quote from Dr. Fukuda:

“This simple method is very robust and promising. We hope that this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia,” adds Fukuda. “In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells.”

Perhaps this really might end up being a major development, even in humans.

Tsuji, Shiseido, Ohyama and perhaps now Fukuda? I have never been to Japan, but it looks like this may change in the future.

Brief Items of Interest, May 2016

Hair loss news first:

There have been a huge amount of hair loss related news items of interest in the past month.  Several of them probably deserved their own blog posts.

— I did not realize that GSK was launching Dutasteride in Japan via the brand name Zagallo (to treat male pattern hair loss) and that this plan was delayed in late 2015.  I did, however, cover the favorable Japanese clinical trial results last year that are mentioned in that first link.  Now comes word that Catalent’s French plant has been cleared to restart production.  So there is a very high chance that Dutasteride will finally be approved to treat hair loss in 2016 (one year later than I was hoping), 14 years after being approved to treat enlarged prostates in men. (Edit: in fact the drug was already approved for hair loss treatment in Japan on September 28th 2015, and even approved in South Korea around 2010!  Hopefully the US and EU will finally follow suit in 2016.).  It would be the third ever drug to be approved to treat hair loss, almost 20 years after the second one (Finasteride/Propecia) was approved and almost 30 years after the first one (Minoxidil/Rogaine) was approved.  Make sure to read the Dutasteride testimonials post and related comments.  FYI — If you are worried about Finasteride (Propecia) side effects, do not even consider taking Dutasteride. The side effects from the latter are guaranteed to be worse for most people.

— Since quite a few of the reader comments to my past few posts have mentioned Kerastem, I am giving high importance to Christopher1’s thread on hairsite regarding his Kerastem treatment in Switzerland.  He had the treatment in early February of this year for $8,000.  Unlike his well covered failed experiment with topical JAK inhibitor tofactinib, this time he went to a professional clinic (more reliable in my opinion) to get the Kerastem treatment. Per his latest post from three days ago (which has surprisingly still not received any replies), he has good news to share and I quote:  “After having brought you some bad news about my Jak inhibitor trial, I finally have some good news for you. It’s not great, but it’s very good.  My hair has stopped falling out. It stopped about three weeks ago, which was a bit over 2 months after my Kerastem treatment.”  Note that this is only one data point and there has been no regrowth and we do not know how long this cessation in hair loss will last.  The rest of his post indicates that this is the first time in 15 years that his hair has stopped falling out.  I find Chrisopher1 to be a highly reliable and sincere person, or else I would not mention him to start off a blog post.

— Scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York recently found the molecular pathways responsible for creating the color of skin and hair.  They found that a signaling pathway known as Edn/EdnrB interacts with other pathways (in particular, with the Wnt signaling pathway), which in turn causes the proliferation of melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) that are involved in the earliest stages of skin and hair pigmentation.  This suggests that targeting Edn/EdnrB signaling in McSCs can be a therapeutic approach to promote hair pigmentation retention.

— A new paper from China titled “Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway activates melanocyte stem cells in vitro and in vivo.”  Research was done in mice.

— An update on research at Japan’s Yokohama University under the leadership of Dr. Junji Fukuda.  Translation required, and yes, it is in mice only for now.  Short interview with Dr. Fukuda in there that is partially lost in translation.  Thanks yet again to our wonderful Japanese blog reader and commentator “nosyu” who updates me regularly about developments in Japan that are not covered by the English media.  The Fukuda Lab lists hair regrowth as one of its key areas of research.

— Update on Thorn Medical’s further plans in the Bahamas.

Topical methyl vanillate (a plant derived natural ingredient) increases hair count and hair mass index by inducing Wnt10b mRNA expression in the scalp.  According to the study, methyl vanillate has recently been shown to activate the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, which has become a key target in the treatment of androgenic alopecia by numerous researchers in recent years.

— I was not planning to cover this public relations type piece on Dr. James Harris, but I liked the ending: “And when Harris predicts the future of his profession, he sees stem cells and growth factors – not plucking and planting.

More good publicity for Samumed and its CEO Osman Kibar.

— I am always impressed by hair loss sufferers who go through impressive regimens and post regular updates.  The latest example is “westonci” on HLT who is supposedly going through the whole of SwissTemple’s prostaglandin protocol that I have mentioned on this blog several times before.

— Talking about PGD2, an interesting new study from South Korea just came out today and provides yet more evidence that prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) and its nonenzymatic metabolite, 15-deoxy-Δ-prostaglandin J2, inhibit hair growth.

— For those in the United Kingdom, Dr. Steven Edgar is now prescribing topical Finasteride in the UK (his e-mail address is in that thread).

— An interesting new hair product from a company named “Reason to Believe” will soon be produced in North Carolina, based on the Alpha Keratin 60ku patent.  Hard to tell how good this product will be and how long it will last (I doubt it is permanent).

Can protein shakes lead to hair loss?

— “Baldy Viking” has some videos on dermaroller and onion juice!  I just saw only part of one of those…seems interesting and not entirely crazy.  I have become more of a believer in natural treatments for hair loss having at least some minor benefit.

— An interesting story of an Irish woman’s battle with alopecia cicatricial related hair loss since age 21.

Yet one more distraction for Dr. George Cotsarelis.

— In celebrity news, Rosie O’Donnell discusses her hair loss; it seems like golfer Jordan Speith may have had a hair transplant; and Charles Barkley has asked basketball superstar Lebron James to stop painting on his hair.  Search this blog for my past mentions of Lebron James if you are interested in this kind of news.

And now on to medical items of interest:

CRISPR breakthrough is most clever yet, and increasingly relevant to humans.

Scientist turn skin cells into heart cells and brain cells just using drugs.

Regenerating brains of the dead.  A more interesting take from my favorite Daily Mail.

Japan OK’s gene editing of eggs.  As long-time blog readers know, the Japanese have already fast tracked clinical trials for newer regenerative medicine and stem cell treatments, and earlier in this post I mentioned that Japan could be the first country to approve Dutasteride for hair loss treatment.  Everything is moving along fast over there and I am glad that we have both Shiseido and Dr. Takashi Tsuji based in that country.

— As expected, the first ever penis transplant in the US got widespread global news coverage yesterday.  I first heard about it via the radio in my car yesterday, then via a text message from a friend (wonder why?), and then again today via my yahoo homepage. Bill Gates must be horrified at global priorities.

— Now just imagine if this really happens in 2017?  I doubt it, but it would be absolutely ridiculous if that came to fruition before a hair loss cure.

— Alzheimer’s cure getting closer:

— Five-year update on face transplant recipient.

— MIT scientists and others create an artificial second skin:

— Histogen is also involved in skin care products via its growth factor technology in case people forgot.  Here is an update.

Doubling lifespan of embryos in petri dishes.

Maybe vitamin supplements are useful after all?

Biohacking in Brooklyn.

— I am a bit skeptical about Liz Parrish and Bioviva, but since I have mentioned her a few times before, here is an update and some reddit comments on the subject.

Rapamycin and more to make your dogs live forever.