What are Exosomes?
Exosomes are stem cells per say. Instead, they are the building blocks of such. They generate within their cells of origin if the multivesicular body fuses with the cell membrane, thereby releasing intraluminal vesicles as exosomes. These small cellular products contain both RNA and, even of greater import, mRNA; the initiator of protein manufacturing.
These protein building blocks' roles are dependent on their cell of origin. Many acts as signalers for bodily functions, such as coagulation, as well as cellular growth to facilitate said bodily functions. Such signaling and growth factors, studies currently show, are a result of the exosome's origin. Near all, however, have a number of useful growth factors/signalers:
- MIP-1: A recruiter of mononuclear cells
- VEGF: A stimulator to encourage blood vessel formation
- SCF: An encourager of stem cell and melanocyte growth
- FGF: A growth factor that signals cells to encourage biological development
- TGFß3: A gene variant that, among other things, converts inflammatory T Cells into anti-inflammatory T-Cells
Research into exosomes is happening for a number of purposes; male and female sexual functioning/revitalization, joint regeneration, and facials. Studies into their viability for biomarkers, Lyme disease treatments, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are also being looked into. Exosomes from follicular stem cells, the logic goes, facilitate hair growth.
Nutrition vs. Signaling
Nutrition for follicular cells will always be essential. As those following hair restoration also well know, near all outpatient treatments orient towards said nutrition. PRP, cytokine rich plasma (CRP), and stem cell treatments (to the best knowledge of current research) all orient towards invigorating follicles with nutrient concentrates.
Each of the above treatments also contains exosomes, but not nearly in the same concentration as a processed exosome treatment. This is why exosomes are so exciting. WNT pathways are particularly important for stimulating hair growth. Outside of methyl vanillate, though, no treatments directly encourage this pathway. Stem cells are the closest there is to this function but they serve more as a nutrient that also signals cells. Exosomes, on the other hand, are cellular signalers that also nutritionalize cells.
Exosomes for Hair Restoration
Research into exosomes for hair restoration is a new development. Publications regarding such only have surfaced in the past few years. Spring 2019 is when physicians and researchers largely concurred that the treatment type has major potential.
Even so, however, there is still plenty of research necessary. Such is a matter of comparing results, yes, but also finding the best way to manufacture and apply the said treatment. Several options are being explored currently. Further clinical trials may lead to any number of new applications.
Current Delivery Systems
Currently, two delivery methods are being researched. The first is an injection after creating a serum. Said serum is the same as most blood treatments, but requires additional filtration and manufacturing to selectively net and isolate the exosomes. Obviously, beneficial growth factors will also be in the serum but will not be the focus.
The second delivery method is very similar to the first. Instead of traditional injections, however, it almost resembles currently micro-needling; the practice of puncturing the scalp to improve hair retention. The second exosome delivery method is quite similar; the needles, though, are much smaller; 300 μm in diameter at its base and 600 μm tall.
Research, particularly by UCLA, indicates that both injection and micro-needling are viable. Results, though, favor micro-needling. Shaven mice using the micro-needling system regrew their hair in six days while those that received injections grew their hair more slowly.
Currently, surgeons are applying exosome treatments for hair restoration via injection. As time moves on, though, this may change. Microneedling may rise in popularity or another delivery method altogether may crop up.
Exceedingly small, exosomes can cross barriers and carry proteins through barriers too large for cells to cross. This better facilitates signaling and dispersal of nutrients. Both are responsible for the reinvigoration of follicles.
Prolonging the Current Hair Cycle
Even of greater note, exosomes also prolong the hair growth cycle. Hair follicles stuck in the telogen phase (resting phase) convert to the anegan (growth phase) and prolong the cycle of such.
This is of critical benefit; as with every part of our body, hair follicles age. Different than many cells, however, follicular cells age with each cycle of growth. It typically requires decades, but as follicular cells enter and leave each phase they begin to change. Miniaturization, or the shrinking and growing brittleness of hair strands, initiates. From there, without treatment, hair strands continue shrinking after each telogen phase until growth ceases in the complete.
Many hair care products and treatments help prolong the hair growth. Few, though, are as capable as exosomes. The hair growth cycle remains intact longer while hair strands become thicker and healthier.
Conclusion: The Top New Treatment Available
A promising new treatment, exosomes are proving to have great potential. The fact is that it may replace every hair restoration therapy available; even hair transplantation. For the time being, though, exosomes is an emerging treatment that requires finessing.
Dr. Cole and other leading researchers are pursuing this new, and perhaps industry-changing, treatment. Already effective, further improvements should lead to even better results. Forhair always puts the patient first. Pursuing, and refining, this new treatment showcases such. We hope to hear from you!