Stem Cell Hair Transplants Here in 2022?

Stem Cell Hair Transplant
Stem Cell Hair Transplant.

Earlier today, the Robb Report covered hair restoration in detail. On a somewhat related note, I have read some well researched hair loss articles during the past several weeks. The most important of these were in the Wall Street Journal and in Labiotech.

Stem Cell Hair Transplants

However, the Robb Report article stood out the most (see further below for my reasoning). It rightly promotes FUE hair transplants as the best current solution for androgenetic alopecia. See my post on FUE versus FUT hair transplants.

What really caught my eye is the below quote from renowned Bosley Medical director Dr. Ken Washenik. I have covered him many times on this blog in the past. It is rare for these well known hair industry experts to make predictions of under 5 years.

“Stem-cell hair transplants are in clinical studies, and Washenik suspects that they’ll be available in the UK and Japan by 2022 or 2023, based on their research progress.”

Note that these stem cell hair transplants are not the same as Dr. Gho’s totally different Hair Stem Cell transplantation (HST).

Hair Multiplication in Japan

I am guessing that Dr. Washenik is talking about Dr. Takashi Tsuji and the RIKEN/Organ Technologies/Kyocera partnership when it comes to the Japanese hair multiplication trials.

He could of course also be talking about Shiseido. Nevertheless, I will assume that Mr. Washenik reads this blog daily and knows which of the two Japanese entities is closer to the end goal :-)

Hair Cloning in the UK

What really made an impression on me is that Mr. Washenik  mentions the UK. I am led to believe that he is talking about HairClone, a company that I covered in detail a number of times between 2016-2019. Of course he could also be covering some UK university research trials.

Update: On Twitter, Dr. Greg Williams made an important point about the Robb Report article. Specifically, in regards to the difference between stem cells and dermal papilla cells:

Hair Stem Cells vs Dermal Papilla

I have become less interested in HairClone during the past year. Myself and this blog’s impatient readers are not too interested in hair follicle banking related updates in 2020.

HairClone has always claimed that they are also working on hair cloning (or hair multiplication) as the long-term holy grail. However, I assumed that their research (in partnership with Dr. Claire Higgins’ team and others in the UK) was still in its early stages. I think they are yet to even start clinical trials, although I could be wrong per Dr. Washenik’s implication.

Hopefully, autologous stem cell hair transplant related clinical trials are allowed to proceed faster than normal in the UK. Or some stages can be skipped based on past research and trial work from the Higgins team.

Overoptimism

More likely, Dr. Washenik is a little overoptimistic when it comes to the UK forecast. Just like Dr. George Cotsarelis was when it comes to the US.

Interestingly, Dr. Washenik mentions that the US had hair multiplication related clinical trials underway in the past, but none are currently ongoing. I hope that Stemson Therapeutics changes that soon.

35 thoughts on “Stem Cell Hair Transplants Here in 2022?”

  1. There is absolutely no valid point and source in this article that supports a release of this in 2022/23. no clinical study or statement from a representative of a firm that actively tackles the problem at all. Just the „suspect“ of some guy. And remember tsuji himself set the deadline for the public use of his treatment for 2020. it’s March already and he didn’t even present results of a single clinical study. I hate to say this but there is no revolutionary treatment on the horizon.

    1. Way back when, Washenik told us he thought hair multiplication would be available by 2005. Not much has changed in the last 15 years.

      I had to laugh when Tsuji claimed he would have a treatment on the market by 2020, when in truth, he hadn’t done a single study in humans at the time he made the statement.

      Look, these guys are not shysters or con men. They just don’t know very much about hair loss and are getting educated the hard way–by trial and error. Unfortunately, this is a painstakingly slow process.

        1. more and more we’re hearing two years, which means a bit more as a promise due to the “imminent” status.. I do think they knew it worked in Japan when they promised 2020. Give them a couple extra years for unforeseen complications and efficiency improvements, and 2022 seems like a reasonable expectation. Fingers crossed.

    2. Red, we’re still well within the first quarter of this year. There’s still plenty of time for a positive announcement in 2020. That’s all we need is one big announcement, and that’ll change everything.

    3. Tsuji/Organ/Kyocera always have been very reserved in terms of official announcements, but in every press release and interview over the years they said the same: commercialization in 2020. That does not mean it is available for people out of Japan or heck, even affordable.

      They are still a R&D company and have no obligations to tell us anything.

      One thing is for sure: if Tsuji can’t pull it off, it won’t happen in this decade at all.

  2. This is very interesting. Ken Washenik is the Bosley head and is supposed to pushing regular hair transplants. No reason for him to now say stem cell HT is near…as it would make his business lose customers now who will wait for the stem cells/hair cloning. Strange….maybe Ken will partner with Hair Clone or Tsuji and is planning ahead?

    1. @AJ make no mistake about it, they already know a lot more than they let on. They would be foolish not to, since they all have well established stakes in the market.

  3. I have a question related to this topic. Last year we heard to talk a lot about this new technology, exosomes. Even though I’m not impressed at all with the results I have seen, also considering how expensive the treatment is, what confuses me is that I had never heard to talk about it before. I knew about exosomes the moment it started to be offered. Is it wishful thinking or it might actually happen with something that actually works to come out of the blue?

      1. Yes admin, its not exosomes itself the matter of interest to me, but rather the fact that we didn’t hear about trials and the usual long journey treatments take to become available, it just became a viable ( i’m not talking about its effectiveness ) option. So my thought is that maybe this could happen with some other treatment that actually works and we have never heard to talk about before?

  4. Hairclone do not need to undergo conventional trials to actually begin treating patients with multiplied autologous DP cells.
    They are planning to offer them under the UKs ‘specials’ provision. Paul Kemp goes into alot of detail regarding this unique UK regulatory route on the ‘other’ hair loss blog some of you may be famaliar with.
    They started banking last year, start of this year they recieved a grant and have started working with a UK university to develop a GMP compliant facility to culture patients DP cells ready for treatment. They hope to begin treating people by the start of 2021.

    This is perhaps why Dr Washenik mentions the UK.

    1. The „other“ hair loss blog, that’s funny. Pretty sure many people on here know who you are referring to.

      Both blogs are great. The „other“ is the young gun, admin our „warhorse“.

      I wonder what happened to hairlosstalk – no movement whatsoever for months. Used to be the best source, went down very badly.

  5. Past year there were months that news were coming one after the other but the last months we have some delays like tissue and some announcements like follica, follicum and sammun or whatever they call it. but nothing excitement or new Luke the miracle we want all. I hope this is the silent before storm. Thank you admin for those years who help us to inform and discuss the global research in regeneration medicine. I feel like I had a doctor degree in biology thanks to you. I saw this exosomes results and hear doctor Cooley be very excitement about them and there are many scientists who speaks about the key role of exosomes maybe with better concentration getting better results what do you think?

  6. I’m surprised Dr. Jeffrey Cooley’s website has so many picture profiles of patients who went FUT instead of FUE. There’s probably more FUT before&after pictures than FUE.

    Of course FUT is less expensive than FUE. Though, if a stem-cell enhanced FUE comes to fruition then I’m getting one – won’t have to worry about my supply of donor hair.

    1. Most long-time hair transplant surgeons used to do 100 percent strip (FUT). Moreover, many often continue to do 50/50 FUE/FUT split. FUT can have some advantages over FUE, even if most people seem to prefer the latter nowadays.

  7. Hello Admin, some comments from my side.

    * The latest claims on OrganTech’s website were so bold, you cannot go public with those without knowing it works. Especially in Japanese business culture – a failure after those announcement would possibly result in “seppuku” (a little exaggeration here).

    * Japan has become brutally, almost frightening and dangerously liberal in terms of cell-therapies. For example they developed a IPSc-therapy for spinal-cord-injuries called “Stemirac” which was released already last year. It was highly controversial:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00178-x

    And it caused a major stir in the research community, so that even the ministry of health responded:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01364-7

    Of course there is a lot of competition between Japan and USA, and most of the critics were from American doctors, who have much more strict requirements in terms of cell-therapies. Hard to tell who is right here.

    * This is the most interesting and informative article on Japanese regulatory laws I’ve ever read, highly recommended:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02847-3

    All signs, facts (and assumptions) summarized: I would be very surprised if Organ/Tsuji/Kyocera wouldn’t release their products very soon in Japan.

    1. Great comment Ben, and makes sense. I just hope that all the Coronavirus issues won’t delay them by 6 months or more.

      Dr. Tsuji seems as reputable as anyone, and he is not just focusing on cosmetic problems. I would definitely put my money on Tsuji above the Cotsarelis/Christiano/Washenik combination trifecta.

      1. The following 5 pillars are what make me so optimistic, and indeed are, quite unique. Even more: we should be very grateful that this constellation is even possible, the chance for it to happen was very low. Many fortunate requirements came together:

        * Dr. Tsuji (as you said) and his lab at the University of Tokio, which did amazing basic research in the field of cell-therapies and especially hair research – for decades now.
        * Japan: the regulations and laws for trials and regenerative research are just as good as can be: extremely fast market approvals (therefore relatively low costs), with still high quality standards in terms of safety. And loads of knowledge in the field of hair research: Universities of Tokio, Osaka, Yokohama; the Aderans research institute; the Hair diagnostic consortium.
        * RIKEN: the backing of the fully government-financed official research institution. Funding and interdisciplinary research are guaranteed.
        * Kyocera: super successful multi-billion tech monster with a wide range of business areas and a futuristic and highly respected R&D department. Responsible for the essential and very difficult production of the culturing instruments. There could be no better company on the planet for this task.
        * Organ Tech: very important: a profit-oriented company who only wants one thing: sell the goddamn thing asap. But still with its own lab (in cooperation with Dr. Tsuji) and therefore always in touch with R&D. Financed again by giant umbrella companies like ITOCHU and Mitsui – which choose their investments very carefully and invested together approximately 10 Million USD only in Organ Tech in 2018. Annotation: many R&D projects die because they never leave the “academy”.

        I mean, there is still a chance that it will fail, I am not naive. But I also do think, the chance of success is higher than that of failure, they are coming a long way now.

        And, it won’t be accessible in an instant. And, it won’t be cheap, not at all. Many people who would like to have it, will not be able to afford it.

        But honestly: available in ’21, ’22 or ’23 or even ’25. I don’t care. If they succeed, and I hope we will know soon, just the simple knowledge that this ultimate cure is a reality, will liberate me so much, that I will be willing to wait eagerly.

        I would encourage some people on this forum to show a little more humility and respect, there are many incredibly smart people working for many years to provide a solution for us egotistic and narcissistic wimps. They could use their abilities for much more important issues.

        And I encourage everybody, as hard as it is, and I know what I am talking about, to not overthink our mutual inadequacy called hair loss. There are many many conditions what are far far more terrible than our “little” concern. Appreciate what you have, and as I like to approch my hair loss: in a superficial world like ours, as a guy with hairloss you need to show much more commitment in every aspect of life: women, job, basically everywhere you encounter people. By being forced in doing so, you grow, and ultimately become a better human being, and simultaneously become less and less superficial. It’s a big challenge, but worth it.

        And in the end, we might all succeed twofold: personal growth and a better character, combined with a full head of hair!

          1. Both together invested around 10 million USD in 2018 in Organ Tech. For comparison: Allergan invested 3 million USD in Stemson (without milestones).

            That was pretty much around the time when they finally solved the 2 big problems regarding the cultivation of the epithelial stem cells and the stable mass production. That’s no coincidence.

  8. 100% agree we don’t need release dates, price projections or anything we need two things:

    1. Genuine indisputable proof it works
    2. A properly demonstrated safety profile

    The rest will fall into place.

    1. So finally the big result? Is it the Replicel trial?

      Well imho that’s basically what most people suspected: not a cure, but potentially another „weapon“, efficacy somewhere in between of minox and finasteride.

      Significant growth, but temporary? Am I reading correctly?

      Any comments from you guys?

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