A rare type of hair loss that is notoriously difficult to treat is being addressed from a new angle in the form of a clinical trial that is being planned in the US.
Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA) is a little-seen type of Scarring Alopecia which manifests itself as a receding hairline. Chiefly affecting women, and usually those who are post-menopausal, it can also in rare cases present in men. FFA is often accompanied by a smooth, pale strip of scalp which forms a thick band around the hairline, which may sometimes appear reddened or inflamed.
Treatment options are extremely limited and are focused on trying to control the inflammation that causes the damage to the hair follicle, rather than trying to stimulate hair regrowth.
Novel approach to hair loss
The new clinical trial is being overseen by the University of Minnesota, whose Clinical and Translational Science Institute hopes to enrol 20 people with the condition to see how they respond to platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment. This is a relatively novel approach to countering hair loss conditions, which has been tested for male and female pattern hair loss, to varying degrees of success, and on the autoimmune condition alopecia areata which provided more encouraging trial results.
It works like this: a patient’s blood is first extracted and then put into a centrifuge. When it is spun, the component parts of the blood become separated – which gives doctors the chance to extract a section of the blood known as platelet-rich plasma. This fluid contains a high number of growth factors which have shown some success at rejuvenating certain areas within the body when they are re-injected where they are needed. The idea in terms of hair loss is that this plasma is injected into the scalp where thinning is evident, the hope being that it will kick-start or speed up the biological mechanism that results in hair growth.
The Minnesota trial will assess the efficacy and safety of PRP in reducing scalp symptoms and promoting hair growth in patients who have been diagnosed with Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia, with PRP injections to be administered once a month over a six month period. Results are not expected for three years.
PRP treatment for other hair loss conditions
PRP scalp injections are a relatively novel when it comes to being used in relation to hair loss conditions. These localised injections are most commonly used in promoting quicker healing in injured athletes and as an anti-ageing treatment known as the Vampire Facial, where PRP is injected directly into the face.
Whilst still largely unproven, PRP has been clinically-tested a number of times as a potential treatment for male and female pattern hair loss, with varying degrees of success. Whilst a few of the recent studies found PRP to be ineffective as a solo hair loss treatment for these conditions, some have shown it may be a promising adjunct in the category of hair growth boosters. The findings published in November 2017 from a small-scale trial added that more frequent, monthly PRP sessions may lead to a better outcome when using this therapy alone.
Whilst hair loss treatment using clinically-proven, MHRA and FDA-approved medications for both male and female pattern alopecia is already well-established, and treatment for alopecia areata in its scalp-only form can also have a significant impact, any developments into areas where there are currently no suitable hair regrowth options are to be encouraged and we look forward to hearing more on these Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia developments soon.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.