Follicular Stem Cell Treatments: A Future for Hair Restoration
Hair restoration surgery comes in many forms. Follicle stem cell treatments are the cutting edge. While a growing method within hair restoration, however, the most effective route today are still surgical procedures. Follicular Unit Extractions or FUE methods are drastically improving and Dr. Cole's namesake Cole Isolation Technique (CIT®) even allows for a follicular generation in donor areas. Take-home treatments like Rogaine and Propecia, meanwhile, enable patients to retain their hair and grow more of it. While effective, follicular stem cell treatments, genomic treatments that literally spur hair growth on a cellular level, may soon displace hair restoration procedures and take-home treatments alike.
Follicle stem cell treatments for hair loss, thus far, are for the most part unknown. The vast majority of the world's foremost leaders in hair restoration are dedicating themselves to three different areas: improving current surgical techniques, improving utensils or tools for those techniques, or creating new surgical techniques. Such innovations are making their mark, though some are less beneficial to the patient than others. FUE machines, for example, are faster than CIT® but far less exact and leave less room for artistry.
Dr. Cole is one of the only current hair restoration experts researching follicle stem cell treatments and other genomic treatments as an alternative to current day practices. There are several patient benefits to pursuing this route:
- Non-invasive: Genomic treatments, if research is any indication, work as topical solutions.
- Radical improvements in hair health: Genomic treatments do not merely improve growth or diameter -they reconfigure follicles to grow terminal hair or the type of hair that usually grows on top of the head.
- Convenient: Patients, ideally, should be able to apply genomic solutions at home at their own convenience.
- More affordable: Genomic treatments may require research but, all in all, they should be radically more affordable than manual hair transplant procedures.
- More equitable: Different types of hair are harder to restore than others: genomic treatments make this into a non-issue
Such promise is what drives Forhair and a few other organizations to continue researching these exciting new branches of hair restoration. Most significantly, follicle stem cell treatments and genomic treatments even the gap between male and female hair loss.
Folliclular Stem Cell Treatments: A Future Solution for Female Hair Thinning
Females' hair typically thins differently than males'. Instead of large swaths actually becoming bald, female hair loss is disparate and happens in the middle section of the crown. By the time it becomes noticeable hair restoration procedures are minimally effective and requires certain hairstyles.
Popular treatments like Propecia and Rogaine do effect females...but not to the same extent of males. Male pattern baldness pertains more to testosterone than age. A DHT blocker, Propecia literally limits the conversion of testosterone into hair loss androgens. The reason Rogaine is effective, meanwhile, is inexplicable but physicians believe it increases circulation to the scalp. Nonetheless, it is also less effective for females.
Follicle stem cell treatments and genomic treatments may be the gateway that makes hair restoration innately more equitable. Of course, follicle stem cell treatments are also still under scrutiny and require more research to confirm if all follicle stem cell treatments and genomic treatments will affect males and females equally.
The Precedent of Follicular Stem Cell Treatments
Follicle stem cell treatments are at the forefront of hair restoration. As such, there is very little research surrounding it. There are some, however. The first major breakthrough came in 1998 when a team of Columbia University scientists discovered a gene partially responsible for hair loss. They appropriately called the gene "hairless" because of all its connection to a severe form of hairlessness that originates from birth and relates to follicle stem cells.
Since then a lot of research has gone into WNT signaling, an advanced cellular pathway that regulates a number of bodily functions. This including hair growth. Since then, a number of studies have indicated that effecting genomic WNT pathways within or near follicle stem cells can, in fact, lead to healthier and thicker hair. Follicle stem cell treatments will most likely continue focusing on WNT pathways and their functions.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Cytokine Rich Plasma (CRP)
Alternate from follicle stem cell treatments, and already available on the market are Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) genomic treatments. Made from the patient's own blood, this serum contains a number of cytokines and growth factors that help stimulate and nourish follicles.
Not a follicle stem cell treatment per se, PRP is among the first genomic treatments to at least activate hair growth on a cellular level. Patients require injections every month to six weeks unless in combination with ACell, an extracellular matrix that fosters cell structures in wounds. Then these genomic treatments are effective for upwards of a year.
Dr. Cole is also conducting research on how to further improve PRP genomic treatments. While beneficial, most serums also include a lot of unnecessary mass. This both reduces the amount of effective material and may very well make that material less efficient: the body must put energy into processing whatever mass it receives. Dr. Cole's research has led to an advanced form of PRP called Cytokine Rich Plasma (CRP). This genomic serum is a concentrate six to eight times more potent than PRP and the results show. Patients enjoy a 99% growth within 4 ½ months rather than 100% growth in 12 months.
Such results make CRP genomic treatments particularly ideal for patients recuperating from hair transplant therapy. The effects of this new concentrate also indicate that follicle stem cell and other genomic treatments become more potent, and easier to absorb, with a greater focus on growth factors and cytokines. We do not know if follicle stem cell treatments will ever reach a maximum peak of how much growth factors the body can absorb. However, we will find out as follicle stem cell treatments become more potent.
Follicular Stem Cell Infusions: The Potential Future of Hair Restoration
New research is indicating that follicular stem cell suspensions both encourage faster and thicker growth while also increasing hair count. This is a first. The procedure involves collecting tissue from biopsies and then isolating the stem-cell containing areas from other adipose. Research indicates that injections containing these stem cells encourage overall hair thickness anywhere from 34% to 24%. We suspect that this happens regardless of the patient's sex, further evening access to hair restoration between males and females.