Tag Archives: Histogen

ASHRS Chief: Hair Cloning or Hair Multiplication is Coming

The president of the American Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ASHRS), Dr. Marco Barusco, declared in January that hair cloning is the most important technological advance on the horizon for hair restoration doctors. While hair cloning is not yet available, Dr. Barusco said he is encouraged that various companies are now in Phase II clinical trials and he expects the technique to be available in the next couple years.

Hair cloning is generally considered to be any technique that attempts to harvest hair follicle cells from a patient, multiply them in growth media in a lab, and then use the new cells to “reseed” bald scalps. Dr. Barusco added that hair cloning will make possible transplants for people who couldn’t have them in the past because they lacked a sufficient amount of donor hair. At least four companies are now actively engaged in hair cloning research – RepliCel Life Sciences, Aderans Research, Follica and Dr. Coen Gho’s Hair Science Institute. They differ slightly on which type of cells they harvest and use in their process.

In 2008, hair cloning was in the news because of pioneering trials being conducted by a British company, Intercytex, that subsequently had financial difficulties and was sold. The hair challenged public became discouraged by the frequent delays so that many today believe that hair cloning is all hype and that the technology will never arrive.

However, Dr. Barusco doesn’t feel that way. He is encouraged by the research done so far and by the fact that companies such as Aderans and RepliCel are moving on to Phase II clinical trials of hair cloning with greater numbers of subjects.

Hair cloning is not the same thing as stem cell treatments. Other companies, such as Histogen in San Diego, are attempting to develop products that restore and reactivate existing hair follicles on balding heads that have been, in a sense, shut off. The hope is that a unique combination of special growth factors and cytokines will be able to “wake up” these dormant hair follicles so that they once again produce hair on a regular basis. Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex, which is currently in development, will be an injectable treatment performed in a medical clinic under a doctor’s supervision.

Cygenx currently produces a growth factor hair growth serum, which it calls RegenRXx, that is available now as a topical lotion. It is applied either alone or with the aid of a dermaroller.

Researchers: Fibroblast Growth Factor 9 (Fgf9) Key to Growing New Hair Follicles

wash hair

In early June 2013, researchers at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania announced that they’ve been able to regenerate hair follicles in adult mammals and that the procedure could eventually be used to grow new hair in humans. In a new paper published online in Nature Medicine, the researchers describe in detail the role that fibroblast growth factor 9 (Fgf9), a protein produced by the skin’s immune system, in the formation of new hair follicles.

The paper’s chief author is Dr. George Cotsarelis, MD, the chairman for the Dermatology Department at the Perelman School of Medicine and a co-founder of Follica, a company dedicated to developing new hair loss treatments based on stem cell growth factors.

A number of companies are now marketing hair growth serums based on Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (HFCM), which contain dozens of specialized proteins, growth factors and cytokines believed to play a crucial role in regenerating dormant hair follicles. One of companies, Cygenx, markets a product called RegenRXx Hair Serum 90 that contains more than a dozen growth factors, including Epidermal growth factor (EGF), Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), Fibroblast growth factor type 5 (FGF5), Transforming growth factor Beta (TGF-B) and Platelet-derived Growth Factor(PDGF)

Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (HFCM) is a nutrient rich solution composed of growth factors, cytokines, soluble collagen, antioxidants and matrix proteins that are often referred to as “signaling” molecules that are derived from a complex invitro laboratory tissue bioengineering process. All human cells grow, heal and divide by interaction with an array of these growth factors and matrix proteins which maintain cellular and tissue homeostasis.

Dr. Cotsarelis’s research shows that Fgf9 is present in greater quantities in the top layers of skin right before new hair follicles are created. When the researchers artificially reduced the amount of Fgf9, the hair follicles did not develop. The research team believes that a combination of deliberate “wounding” in the scalp — perhaps as minor as a skin prick — combined with the application of the right comnbination of growth factors, such as Fgf9, could lead to the rapid formation of new hair follicles on balding scalps.

“This discovery sheds light on a novel mechanism to regenerate hair follicles and opens an exciting new avenue to develop treatments for hair loss in humans,” said Dr. William Ju of Follica, Inc. “Follica has developed a technology platform that is uniquely suited to support clinical translation of these new findings. The Follica platform can be used to induce skin reepithelialization, which creates a ‘window of opportunity’ during which the Fgf9 pathway could be modulated to potentiate hair neogenesis.”

Translated into English, Dr. Ju appears to be saying that Follica hopes this new research will lead to new hair. Follica has been developing new growth factor treatments but does not yet have a product on the market. Hair loss sufferers have been frustrated by the lack of progress so far. Another company, Histogen, is also developing a new hair loss treatment. The problem with growth factors is scalp penetration. One solution, which the San Diego company Histogen is working on, is to develop a surgical procedure to inject growth factors beneath the skin and more directly into the scalp. The problem with this approach is that it requires FDA approval, will be expensive and is not available right now. In 2012, the company’s CEO presented the preliminary results of the company’s double-blind Phase I/II clinical trial of its Hair Stimulating Complex (HSC) at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) annual meeting in the Bahamas. The title of the paper was, “Scalp Injection of Active Embryonic-like Cell-secreted Proteins and Growth Factors.” The company reported a very favorable 86% response rate from patients tested and an increase in total hair count was substantially above an earlier trial.

For years, researchers have theorized that hair loss is caused by a genetic hyper-sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative from the male sex hormone testosterone. The theory has been that hair follicles gradually shrink and then die when exposed to large amounts of DHT. As a result, the theory goes, to grow hair faster you simply have to limit the amount of DHT on the scalp. There are a number of highly effective anti-DHT shampoos and conditioners on the market now. For example, DS Laboratories Revita Shampoo and Revita.COR conditioner are popular with women who want to grow hair faster and with men who want to regrow lost hair.

The most exciting development in recent years to grow hair, however, has been the discovery that DHT does not cause hair follicles to die, a previously thought, but only to go asleep. In a sense, therefore, hair follicles hibernate. Scientists have discovered a number of special proteins, known as growth factors, that are like chemical alarm clocks and wake dormant hair follicles back up. These growth factors have been proven to stimulate new hair growth and to grow hair faster. One of the earliest and most popular of these new growth factor serums, made from adult stem cells, is Cygenx’s RegenRXx Growth Factor Serum 90. By flooding hair follicles with these specialized chemical wake-up messages, growth factor serums stimulate the follicles to grow hair — to grow hair faster than normal and to regrow hair where none was growing before.

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Will 2012 Finally See Stem Cell Cure for Hair Loss?

Stem cell research has been the center of attention in the scientific world for the past few decades. This promising yet highly controversial research has also been the subject of many scientific debates. While it may hold the key to many incurable diseases, there is still a long way to go before a stem cell cure may be made available to the public.

For many years, a stem cell cure was completely out of question due to the controversies surrounding the topic because of its extensive use of embryonic stem cells and low success rate. However, more recently, scientists have been trying to revert differentiated cells from adult donors into their pluripotent form for the purpose of their research. However, to date, success rate of such research remains low.

A lot of research has been done regarding stem cells including their ability to cure hair loss. In a study conducted by the Hair and Scalp Clinics in Clearwater, Fla. researchers showed some promising results in people suffering from Alopecia Areata. The basis of this study is stem cell research and it uses the patient’s own platelet-rich plasma. Although, the study has shown some positive immediate effects, long-term effects and side effects remain unknown.

Another recent study reported by the Journal of Clinical Investigation has shown that some signals need to be sent to the stem cells for them to regenerate hair. In the event that scientists can do this, a cure may become possible. Currently though, this study has only been conducted on men, and it is not known as to how females may respond to this treatment. The aforementioned research may seem promising but before one has to consider the plethora of research that has already been done yet yielded no concrete stem cell cure for hair loss. Case in point, the research done by University of Pennsylvania’s school of Medicine in 2004, which managed to isolate stem cells responsible for hair follicle growth treatments. At that point of time, it was considered very promising and was featured in various scientific journals. However, so far it has not resulted in a practical hair loss treatment.

In conclusion, it’s unlikely that 2012 will see a stem cell cure for hair loss. However, the research is continuing slowly but steadily. Stem cell research is slowly uncovering the actual mechanisms behind hair loss… and the more scientists discover about what causes the minaturization that leads to baldness, the sooner they will be able to develop treatments that stop these mechanisms in their tracks and even reverse them.

That is why most experts still believe that stem cell research to cure hair loss still looks promising. The “cure” we are all searching for will NOT come this year, in 2012, but may well arrive in this decade, before 2020. Stay tuned!

Susan Thompson is a health writer who blogs about hair loss technologies.

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ASHRS Chief: Hair Cloning or Hair Multiplication is Coming

The president of the American Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ASHRS), Dr. Marco Barusco, declared in January that hair cloning is the most important technological advance on the horizon for hair restoration doctors. While hair cloning is not yet available, Dr. Barusco said he is encouraged that various companies are now in Phase II clinical trials and he expects the technique to be available in the next couple years.

Hair cloning is generally considered to be any technique that attempts to harvest hair follicle cells from a patient, multiply them in growth media in a lab, and then use the new cells to “reseed” bald scalps. Dr. Barusco added that hair cloning will make possible transplants for people who couldn’t have them in the past because they lacked a sufficient amount of donor hair. At least four companies are now actively engaged in hair cloning research – RepliCel Life Sciences, Aderans Research, Follica and Dr. Coen Gho’s Hair Science Institute. They differ slightly on which type of cells they harvest and use in their process.

In 2008, hair cloning was in the news because of pioneering trials being conducted by a British company, Intercytex, that subsequently had financial difficulties and was sold. The hair challenged public became discouraged by the frequent delays so that many today believe that hair cloning is all hype and that the technology will never arrive.

However, Dr. Barusco doesn’t feel that way. He is encouraged by the research done so far and by the fact that companies such as Aderans and RepliCel are moving on to Phase II clinical trials of hair cloning with greater numbers of subjects.

Hair cloning is not the same thing as stem cell treatments. Other companies, such as Histogen in San Diego, are attempting to develop products that restore and reactivate existing hair follicles on balding heads that have been, in a sense, shut off. The hope is that a unique combination of special growth factors and cytokines will be able to “wake up” these dormant hair follicles so that they once again produce hair on a regular basis. Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex, which is currently in development, will be an injectable treatment performed in a medical clinic under a doctor’s supervision.

Cygenx currently produces a growth factor hair growth serum, which it calls RegenRXx, that is available now as a topical lotion. It is applied either alone or with the aid of a dermaroller.

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New Study Shows Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex Produces 20% More Hair

Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex (HSC) is one of the most widely anticipated hair loss products in the hair loss industry. Both women and men who suffer from hair loss have been waiting for literally years for this product to hit the market – and after years of delays and lawsuits, it’s now completing its clinical trials.

In late October, Histogen CEO Gail K. Naughton finally presented the results of the company’s double-blind Phase I/II clinical trial at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) annual meeting in the Bahamas. The title of her paper was, “Scalp Injection of Active Embryonic-like Cell-secreted Proteins and Growth Factors.”

The results appeared to be exciting but not revolutionary. Naughton reported a very favorable 86% response rate from patients tested. What’s more, she reported that the increase in total hair count was substantially above an earlier trial.

Yet the actual results probably won’t result in a new head of hair for bald men — a mean increase of 39% in terminal hairs and 19.4% in total hair count in this age group in the current trial. The doctor in the video posted above is unimpressed. But like most hair restoration surgeons, this doctor has a vested interest in dissing non-surgical methods of treating hair loss. Still, I think his comments are interesting and well worth hearing. (When will these companies stop playing games with lighting, for example? We’re all on to that!)

Now, 20% more hair will appeal to many people… if that is what it means. Whether this will be a viable treatment for men and women suffering from genetic pattern baldness, however, remains to be seen.

Naughton stressed that the Histogen product produced results in all age groups, not just among the young in early stages of hair loss. What’s more, it appears to be effective in all areas of the scalp, including places not normally responsive to hair loss products.

The trial was small. Fifty six men suffering from male pattern baldness were given injections of Hair Stimulating Complex – a proprietary formula of growth factors. Histogen describes HSC was being made up of “the products of cells grown under simulated embryonic conditions” – which probably means growth factors and cytokines produced by stem cells.

In this, HSC seems similar to other growth factor serums on the market, such as Cygenx’s RegenRXx, only that HSC has to be injected under the skin in a clinic.

Still no word yet on when Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex will be available to the general public. Stay tuned!

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Predictions for Hair Loss Products in 2013

Well, another year has come and gone and we STILL don’t have a magic cure for hair loss. These companies keep promising and promising… yet nothing seems to come of their promises. Nevertheless, as someone who has been following stem cell technologies for hair loss since 2008, I can say that there have been breakthroughs and a lot is happening behind the scenes. Here are four hair loss product trends to watch for in 2013:

1. Anti-D2 Products. Earlier in 2012, Dr. George Cotsarelis of the University of Pennsylvania announced the discovery of an enzyme, called prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), that tells hair follicles to stop growing hair. His company, Follica, announced that it was working on a new anti-D2 product that could be a major breakthrough in hair loss. (Advantage: There are already drugs on the market for D2 that are used in asthma.)

2. Bimatoprost. Allergan is currently in clinical studies of the drug bimatoprost (Latisse) which appears to stimulate new hair growth. Results should be reported next year. The best guess is that it will turn out to be an effective treatment for hair loss, particularly for women, but probably along the lines of minoxidil — which helps some people but is not really a “cure.”

3. Histogen. A lot of people are anxiously waiting for Histogen’s Hair Stimulating Complex to finally be released… but it’s still a year or two away at best. Histogen’s product is a proprietary blend of growth factors that are surgically injected into the scalp to stimulate new hair growth.

4. Aderans. Aderans is attempting to develop a true hair cloning technology: Its Ji Gami process removes hair follicle cells from a patient’s neck… cultivates and multiplies new follicle cells in a laboratory… and then attempts to “re-seed” a bald head like a new lawn. The company is now in Phase II clinical trials all across North America. Aderans has said it should release its product in 2014 but we should begin to hear a lot more about it next year.

If I had to guess, I would say that hair cloning will turn out to be the treatment of choice going forward. It will not be a silver bullet but will be more like hair transplant surgery than a lotion. The difference is that, with hair cloning, doctors may yield a more cosmetic pleasing result than what is now possible with limited amounts of donor hair.

So, the question remains: What do hair loss sufferers do until hair cloning arrives? We’ve always said you should try a “kitchen sink” approach. You should visit a medical doctor who specializes in treating hair loss. Ask his or her advice on finasteride and minoxidil. Try some of the anti-DHT shampoos and conditioners on the market, like DS Laboratories Revita and Revita.COR. Try cold laser treatments (certified by the FDA as effective for stimulating hair regrowth). If you have extra cash and are willing to try an experimental treatment, you could try growth factor serums such as RegenRXx or Oxford Biolabs TRX2 (both of which we offer in our products section). You could also find a doctor willing to try Bimatoprost as an off-label treatment, although I would rather wait under the Allergan clinical studies are completed. I honestly believe that you should try to slow down the hair loss as much as possible… because some sort of viable hair cloning treatment may be just around the corner.

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