I have covered hair regeneration research by Yokohama National University (Japan) based scientist Dr. Junji Fukuda a few times in the past. His most important work is related to hair multiplication via the production of hair follicle germs.
Yokohama University and Dr. Junji Fukuda
Update: April 15, 2022
- In April 2022, Dr. Fukuda and his team published a paper titled “Effects of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway on the hair inductivity of human dermal papilla cells in hair beads.”
- In March 2022, the Yokohama team published an interesting new paper titled “Electrical stimulation to human dermal papilla cells for hair regenerative medicine.” I added it to my post on electricity and hair growth.
- Thanks to “Ben” for noticing that Yokohama University’s US patent application for its method for producing hair follicle germs got updated on February 10, 2022.
- A new study from Yokohama National University and the Fukuda Lab team just came out with an abstract on March 2, 2022 (h/t “Theo”). It is titled: “Bioprinting of Hair Follicle Germs for Hair Regenerative Medicine.” I think that the initial version of the paper was discussed on this blog in January.
I consider Dr. Fukuda and his team to be among the five most important players in the world that are working on a hair loss cure. Per last year’s news (see further below), the Yokohama team plans to start human clinical trials in 2023.
In this latest research, the team managed to make new hair that was at first only growing underneath the skin of mice to sprout through the skin. They did this via the use of guide-inserted hair microgels (HMGs). They conclude:
“This approach is a promising strategy to advance hair regenerative medicine.”
Update: April 7, 2021
Yokahama University: Interview with Dr. Tatsuto Kageyama
Yesterday, in our Discord chat, “DrPhil” posted a link to a new April interview with Dr. Tatsuto Kageyama of Yokohama National University. It is worth a full read.
After some quick research, I realized that Dr. Kageyama is a co-author in Dr. Fukuda’s important 2019 paper titled: “Preparation of hair beads and hair follicle germs for regenerative medicine.”
This latest interview with Dr. Kageyama is extremely insightful and encouraging.
Human Trials to Start in 2023
The most important news is that human trials will start in 2023. Moreover, the treatment will not be too costly, and it will be safe.
Some key quotes after translation:
“We started basic research using human cells in 2018, aiming to start clinical trials in 2023. And we are working hard together with the members of the laboratory so that we can deliver it to everyone as soon as possible.”
“We also believe that we will be able to resolve cost issues.”
Apparently, they are convinced that the cost of this treatment will be much lower in comparison to other regenerative medicine treatments. A nice change from Dr. Tsuji’s expensive hair loss cure.
The team’s mass culture technology does not necessitate expensive equipment. Moreover, the required amount of hair follicle primordia can be produced with a single culture container.
Hair Follicle Primordium Creation
The Yokohama National University team’s hair multiplication process involves creating hair follicle primordia. Epithelial cells and mesenchymal cells mix to form a tissue called “hair follicle primordium“. This is essentially the seed for hair growth.
The process this team uses entails:
- Extract a few healthy scalp hairs.
- Increase the “epithelial cells” and “mesenchymal cells” that exist in those follicles.
- Thereafter, cultivate a large amount of hair follicle primordia.
- Transplant these new cells to balding regions of the donor’s scalp to regenerate the hair.
It will be possible to produce thousands of hairs from several hairs. The whole process is considered to be safe due to the autologous nature of the treatment.
Japan and Regenerative Medicine
Best of all, in Japan, clinical trials in regenerative medicine are expected to move along faster than in the US or EU. The country has a rapidly aging society with low birth rates. Therefore, it is a world leader in anti-aging related research.
The important triumvirate of Riken (Tsuji), Shiseido, and Yokohama (Fukuda) are all based in Japan. I am very hopeful that at least one of these three will finally succeed in bringing a next generation hair loss treatment or cure to the market.