One of the many routes being explored by hair loss
specialists and researchers hoping to develop increasingly innovative treatments is through stem cells.
Despite being unproven
as a hair loss treatment in its own right, platelet-rich plasma therapy
- the scalp injections more commonly known as PRP - are one of the best-known and readily available services that utilise stem cells.
The latest news in this area comes from scientists in Korea who have recently announced a novel stem cell-based technology designed to encourage hair growth and prevent hair loss.
Patents issued in Korea and Japan
On Wednesday 5th July 2018 Medipost announced that it had acquired a patent for it in Japan, titled 'Hair growth-promoting function of small-sized stem cells and use thereof'.
This follows a 28th February 2018 patent issued for the same treatment in Korea, entitled 'Stimulated Stem Cell Culture Media's Hair Growth Facilitating Function and its Use'.
According to Korea BioMed reports, a company spokesperson advised, “The patented technology proves that small mesenchymal stem cells isolated from umbilical cord blood or its culture have excellent hair loss prevention and hair growth promoting effect.”
Medipost has previously stated that its work involves using umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells to create an artificially-extended catagen phase of the hair growth cycle
. This stage follows the anagen phase - when active growth occurs - and comes before the telogen phase during which hair sheds, before the cycle repeats.
Whilst little else is currently known about this hair loss prevention research, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology are supporting Medipost's hair loss endeavours, which started in 2013. The company holds a further 75 patents in relation to this technology and hopes to develop their findings into hair loss products.
Type of hair loss
One key piece of information missing from the Medipost statements on the subject is which hair loss condition
their work is designed to help.
Given androgenetic alopecia, the hereditary condition most often referred to as Male Pattern Baldness
and Female Pattern Hair Loss,
is the most common hair loss issue worldwide, it would seem likely to be the target.
This causes thinning hair
from the top of the scalp and temporal regions in both sexes, but can also cause a receding hairline
Currently, there are existing clinically-proven, MHRA licensed and FDA approved hair loss treatments
available. These include a topical treatment
option for women, and both topical and oral
hair loss solutions for men. Supplementary hair growth supporting products
, such as home-use low level laser therapy can be used in addition to either or both of these.
Anyone concerned about losing their hair to this permanent, progressive condition who wants to explore hair restoration options, is advised to consult a hair specialist as early as possible.
Whilst many hair growth products are advertised, and there are frequent media stories regarding treatments being developed for preventing baldness
, getting professional advice can help to save both time and money by identifying the issue at hand, recommending the most promising options, and providing all the data needed to make an informed decision about dealing with hair loss, for men and women.UPDATE [14/08/2019]: This trial has now been completed however the results have not been made public at this time.