In October 2017 the reports of a small UK clinical trial into a novel form of regenerative hair loss treatment from a company called Kerastem were published
They claimed that all six participants, who had genetic hair loss
, experienced an increased hair count within six months of having one-off scalp injection therapy. The injected solution was made by extracting fat tissue (adipose) stem cells via liposuction from the test subjects' hip areas, adding these to fat from Kerastem's sister company, Puregraft, to produce the ‘enriched fat’ which was then used during treatment. Both companies are owned by the Californian cell therapy LLC, Bimini Technologies.
On May 17th 2018 the company announced that its technology was awarded U.S. Patent Number 9,931,436 (the ‘436 patent) which covers a number of fat, stem cell and platelet rich plasma
systems and methods for hair growth.
Scalp injections for hair growth
A number of hair loss solutions involving scalp injections are currently being touted as 'cures' or treatments for Male Pattern Baldness
and Female Pattern Hair Loss
- including PRP and mesotherapy
. However, whilst some have benefits in other areas, none have yet been clinically-proven in relation to hair regrowth for men or women.
Where the Kerastem method varies significantly from these current cosmetic applications is in the fact that it is a one-off treatment and does not, according to company literature, required any further applications. This is likely to be extremely compelling for people looking to treat and prevent baldness
as, whilst the scalp injections are potentially uncomfortable, it is minimally invasive and requires little effort from the patient.
Kerastem is hoping to be a leader in this area, with its CEO Bradford A. Conlan stating via a company press release that, “The company is poised for success considering the excellent results observed from our US phase II clinical trial where a specific dose was identified that grows hair
Another small scale phase II trial - known as STYLE
- comprising 70 volunteers, is currently being carried out in various locations across the USA. This started recruiting in October 2016
and the full findings are expected to be released later this year.
Hair restoration options
As phase III
is the stage after which relevant medical authority approval and licensing is sought - such as those from the MHRA and FDA
- and, once granted, the therapy can be released, Kerastem is now taking its penultimate step. This may still take many years to complete, however, as developing any new medication, treatment or therapy is a lengthy process in order to ensure its safety, tolerability and efficacy for humans.
It is not currently known which levels of hairloss the treatment is aimed at, but for those experiencing Male or Female Pattern Baldness
now, as long as the hair follicles are still functioning, there are already various options available that don't require surgery or injections.
There are two clinically-proven treatments that are well-established for genetic hair loss; one topical
, which can be used by both medically-suitable men and women aged 16 and over, and one oral
which can only be used by medically-suitable men from 18 years of age. In addition to these pharmaceutical elements, various hair growth supporting products
can also be used, depending on the individual's preferences and suitability.
Anyone interested in exploring the hair loss solutions open to them may find taking professional advice from a specialist helpful, whether they visit them in person or have an online consultation.