A clinical trial has been proposed in Egypt to try and ascertain whether two novel treatments can improve the results of hair transplants for men whose hair loss
has been caused by the genetic condition male pattern baldness.
Researchers at Assiut University have announced a study that is set to feature 45 participants whose shedding has been caused by male pattern baldness
; while there is no shortage of men who fit this criteria, given it is the most common hair loss condition in the world, volunteers must also be willing to undergo a follicular unit extraction hair transplant
(FUE) procedure. These typically take anything up to 10 hours of surgery and, in addition to leaving tell-tale bloodied spots on the head during recovery, some men - including fashion designer Marc Jacobs
- have also complained of intense pain from hair restoration surgery.
Two novel methods tested
What the scientists are interested in is seeing if the results of the transplants can be enhanced by using one of two relatively new 'rejuvenation' treatments that have proved popular over the past few years, particularly on people with minor injuries. These are platelet-rich plasma
treatment (PRP) and adipose derived stem cell
treatment. While similar, they have distinct differences:
PRP treatment involves first extracting some of the patient’s own blood and then putting it through a centrifuge where high-speed spinning causes the component parts of the blood to separate. One of the layers will contain a high concentration of different ‘growth factors’ which are then re-injected into the body where needed; in this instance, the scalp.
Adipose derived stem cells are those which are taken from fat tissue in the body, and as with PRP treatment these are then re-injected where they are required. As well as placing high numbers of stem cells into the treatment area, this method adds a healthy dose of growth factors as well.
In terms of the two treatments’ possible function during a hair transplant procedure, the Egyptian doctors write that “combining platelet rich plasma with follicular unit extraction surgery for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia demonstrated that PRP is able to minimize the postsurgical follicle loss and potentiate the performance of grafted hairs. Adipose stem cells are needed to induce the proliferation of bulge stem cells of hair follicle. Furthermore, they can help in wound healing and vascular neogenesis.”
The researchers also note that in 2014, three patients were injected with adipose derived stem cells during hair transplants and the results were promising.
The objectives of the Egyptian study are to evaluate the effect of the two separate treatments in terms of hair growth after one year and also to analyse the hair shaft diameter.
Boosting hair growth and treating hair loss
In the simplest terms, what the doctors are doing is seeing if FUE hair transplant
procedures' results can be improved by giving the scalp a shot of some rather extreme TLC.
Interestingly, PRP has not shown much promise
as a treatment for genetic hairloss yet. Clinical trials have found it to be lacking as a primary hair loss treatment but researchers considered it may have benefits as a secondary hair growth booster. This is especially true when used in conjunction with one or both of the clinically-proven front-line medications finasteride 1mg and minoxidil, which are MHRA licensed and FDA approved for treating male pattern baldness.
Equally, adipose-derived stem cell treatment is not yet established either, with clinical trials still investigating
its viability and efficacy in relation to treating men's hair loss.
Nourishing the scalp and follicles is by no means a new concept, however. Various hair growth supporting products
already exist for this purpose, and can be used alongside the established hair loss treatments
. These range from low level light therapy (LLLT) devices, which can be used at home - including the HairMax LaserComb
- to highly-targeted hair growth supplements.
LLLT uses medical-grade laser light-emitting diodes to stimulate the hair follicles, and is a convenient therapy to carry out at home, thanks to a range of FDA cleared devices such as LaserBands
Belgravia has developed a premium food supplement - Hair Vitalics for Men
- which also comes at things from a different, complementary angle. Whilst not intended to replace a balanced diet, Hair Vitalics can not only provide nutritional support via its unique combination of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals but it also contains biotin, selenium and zinc for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.
does not offer hair transplants, instead providing hair loss treatment courses featuring a mix of proven medications and hair growth boosters tailored to the specific condition, pattern and level of hairloss in each individual.
Taking a non-surgical approach can help to reduce hair fall and encourage new hairs to grow, as well as preventing baldness
on an on-going basis, as long as the hair follicles are still active. Once the skin takes on a smooth, shiny appearance, such as at the temples in cases of a receding hairline
for example, this indicates that the follicles are no longer capable of producing hair. In these instances surgery may be the only option, if there is suitable donor hair available. But, to be sure which options are applicable, a personal consultation with a hair loss specialist is always recommended.