An article in the Hollywood Reporter about a rather uncompromising approach to tackling hair loss
lists cells grown from fetal foreskins as a method being tested in America.
According to the piece, the quest to prevent male pattern baldness
which affects half of all men by the time they are 50 is taking science down some rather strange alleys.
As well as conducting trials with “a company supplying fetal foreskin from cells ‘multiplied in culture’ to yield a ‘promising’ hair-stimulating complex called HSC,” Craig Ziering, who is described in the article as the Doc Hollywood of hair restoration, currently offers a treatment named ACell, which is derived from liquefied human placental tissue. The goal, it appears, is to capitalise on something called “growth factors”.
What are growth factors?
Growth factors are defined as “a substance, such as a vitamin or hormone, which is required for the stimulation of growth in living cells”. This makes them a kind of “natural fertiliser”, and one of the best known ways of accessing them is via a patient’s own blood which is put in a centrifuge. A layer of “platelet-rich plasma
” (PRP), as it is known, is then extracted from the blood and re-injected into the body where needed; increasingly injections are made to the scalp to encourage hair growth, though trial data
thus far suggests that this only really has a place as a secondary as opposed to primary treatment option.
Dr Ziering apparently boosts PRP with ACell
and amniotic fluid, and according to the Hollywood Reporter article
, results can last 10 to 20 months.
Other doctors in the US are working with similar technologies to try and combat hair loss; the article points to the work of Arizona-based National Hair Loss treatment centres whose president Carly Klein says they have a super-centrifuge that is able to extract PRP that is much more potent than the norm. The report says that his clinics can add amniotic fluid to this and that the result, which costs a reported $7,000, and they claim is like “an espresso shot” to the hair. As far as we are aware, there is no clinically-proven evidence to support this assertion.
Another doctor LA-based plastic surgeon Darshan Shah is reported to be looking at using PRP with stem cells taken from fat tissue
. The fee for treatment based around this, the Reporter states, will cost $15,000.
Hiding and preventing hair loss
The thrust of the story is that life as a Hollywood celebrity comes with intense scrutiny and that famous people will go to any lengths when hiding or preventing baldness
they believe may ultimately lead to them losing work. Given the technology used to disguise actors' hair loss
on camera and the grooming techniques used to make hair appear thicker
for public appearances, it is possibly more likely that an actor's lack of confidence due to thinning hair would be the reason for missing out on work, rather than the hair loss itself.
One commonly-held belief is that countless celebrities indeed countless men stave off thinning hair at the first signs of shedding with a male hair loss treatment
course featuring clinically-proven products. As regrowth is usually gradual, taking place over several months, it is normally not necessary for men to even mention they are having treatment.
Such courses tend to make use of either or both of the only MHRA licensed and FDA approved medications for this purpose - finasteride 1mg and minoxidil - with topical applications of high strength minoxidil
being particularly useful for men with stubborn hairloss, such as a receding hairline
- and the oral tablet finasteride 1mg helping to block DHT, which causes thinning hair and receding in cases of androgenetic alopecia.
Additional hair growth supporting products
can also be used alongside these established medications.
Belgravia offers a range of treatments, therapies and hair loss products, however, at present, the clinic's offerings do not include PRP or any kind of stem cell/amniotic fluid/fetal foreskin injections because there has yet to be sufficient data made available that shows these invasive and costly options to be a compelling alternative to the approved treatments currently offered.